A professor and scholar from the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan,
will bring a global perspective to Harper College this semester. Dr. Rabia Ali arrived
in Palatine in mid-January to begin her role as a Fulbright Scholar in Residence for
Ali is chair of the sociology department at her institution in Pakistan and teaches
and publishes extensively on the topics of gender, culture and leadership.
“It’s about meeting new people, learning from them, and experiencing a different culture,”
said Ali about the opportunity to serve as a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Harper
College. “And I’ve never been to this part of the world before.”
In exchange, the college community will learn more about global issues and international
perspectives. Ali’s residency is a key component of the college’s multiyear Global
Region of Focus initiative, which incorporates faculty development, campus programming,
study abroad and the visiting scholar exchange. With South Asia as the current focus,
the Office of International Education is leading interdisciplinary study centered
on this region through 2024.
“By hosting a Fulbright scholar on campus, we are bringing the world to our students,”
said Nellie Khalil, associate professor of biology and the Office of International
Education’s director. “As a community college, many of our students may not have the
opportunity to travel internationally, so this gives them the ability to engage with
a global expert in various academic disciplines. A visiting scholar helps our students
explore diverse perspectives, gives them insight into global issues, and promotes
Reception for Dr. Rabia Ali, Fulbright Scholar in Residence
What: A welcome reception will take place for Dr. Rabia Ali, Fulbright Scholar in Residence
Where: Performing Arts Center lobby
When: 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, February 8
Light refreshments will be available
Ali’s extensive scholarship and academic interests cover a wide range of contemporary
topics, including sociology of gender, globalization, higher education, women’s leadership
and qualitative research methods. She began her career in a development project to
empower women but discovered that she wanted to pursue teaching and research. Higher
education and international exchange are her passions, Ali said, and she has completed
a previous Fulbright Fellowship at Brown University in Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D.
from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
“I love my work,” she said. “I love to interact with students.”
Ali will serve as a guest lecturer in various courses in Harper’s sociology department
and in other academic disciplines, presenting on a broad array of topics including
gender-based violence; globalization and the changing Pakistani culture; political
violence and its intersection with racism; the role of women in Pakistan; political
and economic issues in Pakistan; comparisons between Pakistan and other South Asian
countries; and climate change. While she will be housed within the sociology department,
faculty from other disciplines can request a guest lecture in a relevant course.
A visiting Fulbright scholar can establish the groundwork for future international
education opportunities, said Khalil, because they help open doors to valuable international
connections after they return to their home country. “For example, we can develop
intercultural virtual exchange programs between our institution and our scholar’s
home institution,” said Khalil. “Students and faculty can interact and collaborate
on interdisciplinary projects, or we can establish subsequent visiting scholar exchanges.”
Ali represents the third Fulbright to visit campus, following in the path of Fulbright
Scholars from Uganda and Costa Rica. They supported previous Global Regions of Focus
centered on Africa (2014-2017) and Latin America (2017-2020).
Harper College’s deep commitment to international education and the Global Region
of Focus program have been awarded grants for program development and funding for
student passports, along with a prestigious Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for
Campus Internationalization in 2018.
Harper will hold a welcome reception for Ali from 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, February
8, at the Performing Arts Center. Plans are also underway for community events where
she will share her expertise and give presentations for local volunteer groups and
at other academic organizations.