Global Ducks

Full Circle

Farid Nabti ’72 with one of his UO students, Joseph Young.

A Muslim scholar and devoted alumnus who calls Eugene his “second home” shared his expertise on hot-button issues in the Middle East with UO students during summer term.

Farid Nabti ’72 is dean of the College of Business at the University of Modern Sciences in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After earning degrees in economics and political science from the UO, followed by a doctorate from Stanford, he returned to his native Middle East to teach the region’s economy, politics, and history at the university level.

Who better to guide UO students to a better understanding of the Muslim world?

For Development in the Muslim World, a four-week seminar, UO students explored economic and political problems in the Middle East and North Africa, gained insights on current developments, and discussed the future.

Nabti, originally from Lebanon, said the Muslim world is second only to China in GDP, but suffers from huge inequities in wealth distribution that hinder infrastructure for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

“One of my objectives is to really explain to the Americans, ‘This is what’s really going on.’ I don’t want to have people thinking, ‘This is a Muslim, I don’t want to have anything to do with him, he’s a terrorist.’ This kind of thinking is not right,” Nabti said.

Mansour Albadran, a sophomore journalism premajor from Saudi Arabia, said Nabti provided insights that “increased my knowledge of the region, my knowledge of the economy, and how we can predict what’s going to happen next.”

The course evolved from a trip taken by Dennis Galvan, vice provost for international affairs, and John Manotti, assistant vice president for international advancement, to the United Arab Emirates. They were introduced to Nabti through other alumni.

Galvan, who codirects the Global Oregon Initiative, said having such a rich alumni base enables the university to bring regional voices with authentic local understanding of the issues to campus.

“Our goal is to build a dialogue in classrooms where students learn not just the facts of the situation, but how to respectfully and civilly talk about contentious global issues,” Galvan said. “Simultaneously, they learn just how global Ducks really are.”