University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Mission & Goals

The University of Connecticut is a Global University. People from all over the world come to UConn to deepen their knowledge and identify solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. At UConn, faculty, scholars, students, practitioners and community members from diverse backgrounds interact with a spirit of inquiry, curiosity and global citizenship. Building on this tradition, UConn Global Affairs is developing a new initiative named UConn Abrahamic Programs in the Middle East/North Africa Region (UConn Abrahamic Programs). This initiative builds on the long-standing Connecticut tradition of innovative thinking and scientific discovery, while promoting regional academic integration in the Middle East/North Africa Region.

Under the aegis of Global Affairs, UConn Abrahamic Programs serves as an innovative academic umbrella that fosters cross-border research, intercultural communication, and, community engagement. It builds on the intellectual foundations of Abrahamic thought and its three monotheistic faiths, which emphasize the value of acquiring knowledge, using reason, and acting with wisdom. UConn Abrahamic Programs are grounded in this common epistemological heritage. While this initiative is non-denominational, we recognize that the birth of all three monotheistic faiths initiated in the Middle East, spreading east and west with the Abrahamic culture in common. Thus, we acknowledge that religion can significantly shape cultural traditions, beliefs and inclinations. We also know that Christianity, Islam and Judaism all call on their people to use knowledge and reason for constructive purposes. By focusing on the commonalities between these major cultural traditions, this initiative builds scholarly relationships with the hope of contributing also to regional economic and social development.

Originating at our university and extending globally, UConn Abrahamic Programs will facilitate workshops, discussions, and interactive activities that give participants the opportunity to exchange views and learn from a diverse group of peers, colleagues, and experts. A small workshop format will allow participants to actively engage with the material and contribute their unique perspectives and experiences—in contrast to a conference model in which participants are often passive listeners. The emphasis will be on substantive, in-depth interactions that foster meaningful, lasting relationships and new research collaborations. Coming from diverse professional, cultural, and social backgrounds, participants will be able to explore emerging trends and issues of critical importance while advancing scholarship and deepening individual knowledge.




2017 Inaugural Symposium:

Abrahamic Symposium Program

"Jewish-Christian-Muslim Intellectual Exchanges in the Medieval & Early Modern Mediterranean"


UConn Steering Committee

Zahra Ali
Director, Global Partnerships & Outreach

Nicola Carpentieri, Ph.D.
Chair of Arabic & Islamic Studies
Assistant Professor of Literature, Cultures & Languages

Maha Darawsha
Lecturer of Arabic Language & Culture

Zaid Eyadat, Ph.D.
Director of Human Rights Programs in the Middle East
(Professor of Political Science, University of Jordan)

Ilham Idrissi
Project Specialist, Global Affairs

Kathryn Libal, Ph.D.
Director, Human Rights Institute
Associate Professor of Social Work & Human Rights

Jeremy Pressman, Ph.D.
Director, Middle East Studies
Associate Professor of Political Science

Jeffrey Shoulson, Ph.D.
Vice Provost, Interdisciplinary Initiatives
Doris & Simon Konover Chair in Judaic Studies

Daniel Weiner, Ph.D., (Chair)
Vice President for Global Affairs
Professor of Geography