Schloss Leopoldskron with fortress in the background.
CPGC-Sponsored Program Sends Faculty Members to Prestigious Salzburg Global Seminar
A program sponsored by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) is giving Haverford faculty members a new way of bringing a global perspective to their classrooms.
In 2008, the CPGC entered into a partnership with the Salzburg Global Seminar, one of Europe’s most prestigious forums for discussing contemporary issues of global concern. Founded in 1947, the program brings international leaders in the academic, business, and nonprofit sectors together for week-long sessions in Salzburg, Austria, in the Schloss Leopoldskron, a historic 1700s palace (where several exterior shots for The Sound of Music were filmed). The seminars are dedicated to exploring innovative solutions for worldwide problems. The CPGC has established a fellowship which annually allows one faculty member to attend a seminar.
“This is an emerging opportunity for faculty to benefit both personally and professionally, and to use the resources of the Center to globalize the Haverford community,” says CPGC Director Parker Snowe ’79.
Professor of History Paul Smith, former academic director of the CPGC, was the first Haverford faculty member to attend a Salzburg Global Seminar; in November 2007, he participated in “The Dynamic Economies of China and India: What Lessons for Others?” in order to assess the program for future faculty involvement.
He calls his experience “transformative.” “For me, the week-long symposium constituted a crash course in Chinese and Indian social change and economic development,” he says. “With respect to China itself, the seminar had an immediate impact on my course on the Chinese revolution (History 263). I changed the last three weeks of readings to incorporate my Chinese colleagues’ insights and views on the importance of China’s economic development.”
Smith felt that the diversity of leaders brought together by the seminars makes the program’s collaboration with Haverford a beneficial partnership for everyone involved. “Haverford-sponsored fellows gain valuable professional contacts, the CPGC gains new internship opportunities, and the College gains increased international exposure and prestige among prominent intellectuals and decision-makers worldwide.”
This year, Assistant Professor of Political Science Susanna Wing was the recipient of the CPGC’s fellowship, and traveled to a seminar called “Islamic and International Law: Searching for Common Ground,” which took place October 25-30. For Wing, whose research interests include women’s rights, Africa and development, this was her first chance to study Islamic law with legal scholars, in particular those who specialize in classical interpretations of the Koran. She will incorporate what she’s learned in a new seminar she’ll be teaching in the fall of 2009, “Islam, Democracy, and Development.”
Over the course of the five days, Wing and her colleagues were involved in panel discussions and working groups focusing on such topics as family law, inheritance rights, marriage and divorce, how women’s rights are protected by international laws, and Islamic law’s compatibility with international law. Wing learned how Islamic law functions, and how interpretations of that law and of the Koran are understood.
“It was astonishing to have been in such a diverse group, with people from all over the world who all had the same issues and concerns. We had constant conversations about the topics,” she says. Wing is now part of a listserv of seminar attendees that offers a place for continuing online discussions about Islamic law as it pertains to news of the day.
Wing has already used what she learned at the seminar in her “Women in War and Peace” class, and will tailor a whole section of her fall seminar around the subject of Islamic law. She also put her new knowledge to use during a talk she recently gave at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, where she discussed Moroccan family law reform.