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


UCM Plans Annual Saudi Arabia Day Celebration

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 12, 2010) – The University of Central Missouri will celebrate its 11th annual Saudi Arabia Day Monday, Oct. 18, with a reception and a guest lecture by Sulayman S. Nyang, a renowned scholar of Islam and African government and politics.

The reception is planned for 3:30-5 p.m. in the South Read and Relax area of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. Refreshments of authentic Middle East cuisine will be prepared and served by members of the Muslim Students Association.

Following the celebration, Nyang will present a public lecture titled “Islam, America, and the Question of Identity” at 6 p.m. in Twomey Auditorium in the Wood Building. An international expert on Islam in America and author of numerous books and articles on Islam, Nyang received a master’s degree in public administration and doctorate in government from the University of Virginia. In addition to his duties as professor at Howard University, where he lectures on Islam, African systems of government and African political thought and public policy, Nyang has served as an advisor to the United Nations, the World Bank, and the editorial boards of five international journals.

Following his lecture, Nyang will be available to sign copies of his latest book.

Saudi Arabia Day is sponsored by UCM’s McClure Archives and University Museum, the International Center, Muslim Students Association, the Department of History and Anthropology, 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.