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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Chris Corley visiting Palestine for look at roots of conflict

One of 10 U.S. faculty selected for seminar

Faculty member examines roots of violent conflict in Palestine.

2011-05-18
By Tanner Kent, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 5/18/2011]

Free Press photo by John CrossChris Corley
A trip to the West Bank for Chris Corley, a Minnesota State history instructor and Honors Program director, could help the university foster a "community of scholars."

Chris Corley is just hours away from stepping into one of this planet’s most violent, and perhaps misunderstood, human conflicts.

The Minnesota State Mankato history instructor and Honors Program director is one of 10 higher education faculty nationwide selected for the Palestinian American Research Center’s 12-day seminar on Palestine.

On Thursday he will fly into the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. When he lands, a day of rest will precede discussions with dozens of Palestinian higher education counterparts, lengthy visits to five academic institutions in the West Bank and tours of refugee camps and ancient cities.

But Corley will be landing in the middle of an intense political conflict that is only gaining intensity as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to address the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. Netanyahu’s address will come little more than a week after Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters clashed on Sunday, leaving at least 12 dead on the anniversary of Israel’s creation in 1948, a day that Palestinians refer to as “Catastrophe Day.”

In his role as director of the Honors Program, Corley said that developing students into global citizens is a primary objective. Visiting the West Bank opens opportunities for future visits and classroom interaction as well as creates access to a conflict, he said, that is largely perceived in America through a limited lens.

Corley is not the first Minnesota State Mankato faculty member to visit the West Bank. Lee Tesdell, a technical writing instructor and Fulbright scholar, in 2009 taught at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

Maria-Claudia Tomany, assistant vice president for international education, said such international partnerships are growing in number and represent a conscious decision by Minnesota State Mankato to broaden those opportunities.

This week, for example, a contingent from the HAN University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands is visiting Minnesota State Mankato to glean insight on how to integrate research into teaching. Students from universities in South Korea and Iraq, to name a few, have regular exchanges with Minnesota State Mankato.

For the complete Free Press story, see Wednesday's print edition, or click on http://mankatofreepress.com/bigstory/x2069372643/Trip-to-help-develop-global-citizens.

For more Free Press news go to the print edition or http://mankatofreepress.com/homepage.

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