BW Professor Spends Year in Morocco as Fulbright Scholar

August 1, 2010

With the financial support of a Fulbright Scholarship, philosophy professor Kelly Coble spent the 2009-2010 academic year in Morocco.  While there, he taught courses and conducted research at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane.

"Teaching in a Moroccan classroom was exhilarating," remarked Coble.  "I enjoyed my time in Morocco yet was glad to come back.  Being away helped me to appreciate BW's community of collaboration and mutual respect. 

"While there I worked with BW political science professor Mark Mattern," he noted.  "We held video conference dialogues between students in our respective political science courses.  For me the experience underscored the salience of cultural exchanges in education, and our obligation as educators to facilitate more of these."

Active in BW's international programs, Coble saw his sabbatical as being valuable for himself, his family and his students, both in Morocco and in Berea.

"I wanted to provide my sons with first-hand experience living in a country that, in cultural terms, is dramatically different from mainstream America," he explained. "A place where most of the inhabitants live in conditions of material poverty unknown to America.

"And yet," continued Coble, "the students at Al-Akhawayn were not typically Moroccan.  They were wealthy, well traveled and fluent in English. Ifrane is situated in what geographically has to be among the most beautiful place in the world."

Having lived and worked in Egypt prior to coming to BW, Coble wanted to compare Moroccan and Egyptian cultures.  He also wanted to familiarize himself with another area of the Arab and Muslim world.

"I had specific intellectual questions and objectives that brought me to Morocco," said Coble.  "I was curious about human rights in Morocco and Islam's role with it.  I also wanted to explore students' thinking on a variety of cultural and political issues."