The first class offered jointly on Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh and Qatar campuses bridged international divides. Called "American-Arab Encounters," the recently offered class enabled students in Pittsburgh and the Middle East to learn directly from each other about world history and cultural differences.
The course was the brainchild of Indira Nair, vice provost for education and professor of engineering and public policy. When she learned of a web-based discussion forum being used to connect individuals from different countries, Nair immediately thought of how it could serve Carnegie Mellon's global family.
"This got me thinking about how we could connect our students on two continents," said Nair. "Two faculty members, Dr. Laurie Eisenberg and Dr. Ben Reilly, then developed the course to bring students together in direct dialogue about American and Arab relations."
Einsenberg and Reilly both teach in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences Department of History. Through teleconferences, readings, journal writings, short papers, debate and discussions, students examine American-Arab relations — past and present — with specific emphasis on exploring the background that underlies current issues.