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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943

UCM to Celebrate Saudi Arabia Day Oct. 18

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 12, 2011) – The University of Central Missouri will celebrate its 12th annual Saudi Arabia Day Tuesday, Oct. 18, with a reception planned for 3:30-5 p.m. in the South Read and Relax area of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library.

Following introductions by Gersham Nelson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Joy Stevenson, director of the UCM International Center; Provost George Wilson will welcome those in attendance. A representative of the Muslim Students Association also will provide a traditional welcome.

In addition, a special exhibit of items from the Nance Middle East Collection in the Arthur McClure Archives and University Museum, located in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. Refreshments will be served, and the public is invited to attend.

In conjunction with Saudi Arabia Day, the American Democracy Project at UCM and the UCM International Center will sponsor a lecture, "Libya's Arab Spring," by international columnist Mansour El-Kikhia, a member of the political science faculty at the University of Texas-San Antonio, at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, in Elliott Union 238. A reception will precede the lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Elliott Union atrium.

A Libyan refugee, El-Kikhia received his bachelor’s degree from the American University of Beirut and master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Before joining the faculty of the University of Texas-San Antonio, El-Kikhia also was a member of the faculty at the University of California at Riverside and the University of Arizona at Tucson.

Specializing in international relations and comparative politics with particular emphasis on the Middle East, El-Kikhia’s published works on Libyan politics and human rights in the Middle East are highly regarded. He has testified on these issues before the United States Congress, the European Parliament and specialized United Nations, as well as American, Canadian, and European governmental agencies. His weekly columns on international issues are published across the globe.

Saudi Arabia Day is sponsored by UCM’s McClure Archives and University Museum, the International Center, Muslim Students Association, The Honors College, and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Since its inception in 1999, Saudi Arabia Day has become an annual event that celebrates the Nance Middle East Collection in the McClure Archives and University Museum; the growing connections between UCM, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East; and UCM’s longstanding belief in fostering international education.

Saudi Arabia Day also serves as a celebration for the university’s Middle Eastern students, who bring traditional foods from their family homes for the gathering of international educators, the campus community, and international students and their families.

The impetus behind Saudi Arabia Day at UCM is Paul J. Nance, who worked for Saudi Aramco Oil Company for 31 years. Upon his retirement in 1983, he and his late wife, Colleen, returned to the United States, where they opened a private museum of Middle Eastern art and artifacts, sharing their vast collection with the public. Nance donated the entire collection, the largest of its kind on public display, to UCM in 2003.