Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2005

Expert on Islam, Muslims Living in Southeast Asia
to Present April 7 Lecture at Whitworth

Islamic-studies expert Carool Kersten will present a lecture, "Contemporary Muslim Thinkers and Islam: Exploring New Ways of Engagement with a Religious Tradition," on Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m., in the Robinson Teaching Theater in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth College. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3253.

While at Whitworth Kersten will also lead a faculty lunch discussion on Friday, April 8, at noon in the Hixson Union Building Catering Rooms. During the luncheon, he will discuss his provocative essay on Islamic concepts of vocation and service, which was published in a collection of essays, Visions of Service, edited by Linda Chisholm (New York, IPS-L, 2004).

Kersten is an educator, researcher and freelance writer. He directs a study-abroad program, teaches history and lectures on Islam at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is also a translator accredited with the Dutch District Courts.

A native of the Netherlands, Kersten holds the equivalent of a master's degree in Arabic language and culture, with a specialization in Islamic studies, from the University of Nijmegen, and a certificate in Southeast Asian studies from Payap University. While studying at the university, he served as secretary of the Middle East committee of a Dutch political youth organization and as a representative on two occasions for official delegations visiting Cairo, Tunis and Polisario refugee camps in Southern Algeria.

After completing his studies, Kersten worked for more than 10 years in Saudi Arabia for an international contractor as a professional translator, personnel officer, and human-resources manager. He also acted as a freelance translator and consultant on cross-cultural and Middle Eastern affairs.

Kersten's research interests include Islamic thought and intellectual history, Islam in Southeast Asia, and the European expansion in Southeast Asia. He is the author of two books on Southeast Asian history and has published articles on Islam and Muslims in Southeast Asia, including "The Predicament of Thailand's Southern Muslims" in American Journal on Islamic Social Sciences.

Kersten's campus visit is sponsored by the Whitworth College Department of Academic Affairs and the Lilly Vocation Grant.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Pamela Corpron Parker, associate professor of English, Whitworth College (509) 777-4204 or pamelaparker@whitworth.edu.

Lisa Sem-Rodriguez, academic program assistant for English and women's studies, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3253 or lrodrigues@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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