Baylor University Professors Available Tuesday To Discuss Iraq Trip

Dec. 23, 2003

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Twenty-three Baylor University faculty members are back in Texas after completing a successful academic conference last week at the University of Dohuk in northern Iraq.

Dr. William Mitchell, director of Baylor's Center for International Education, and several of the professors who led workshops in Iraq will be available for interviews beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the Poage Library on the Baylor campus. Poage Library is located across the street from Castellaw Communications Center in Baylor's library complex.

Baylor's academic contingent, the largest to date from a U.S. university, included two deans and leading faculty in 14 disciplines, ranging from microbiology, physics and environmental science to social work, nursing and contemporary political theory. Baylor has had an exchange and cooperation agreement with Dohuk since 1996. The group left for the Middle East the day of Saddam Hussein's capture by U.S. troops.

"We have had a great experience. It was very rewarding to see the emotions and excitement of the Kurds following the capture of Saddam," Mitchell said. "There is a Kurdish holiday for celebrating the capture. Since Baylor was there, the university deferred its celebration until next week. The mood feels like one experiencing five New Years Eve celebrations at the same time."

Mitchell said he organized the conference to help Iraqi higher education officials rebuild a modern university. The Baylor workshops averaged 55-150 attendees, including Iraqi university presidents, academics, politicians, military officials, and business and community leaders.

"I am eager to share the experience with the world and to return to Iraq again already," said Dr. Rene Massengale, assistant professor of biology who led a workshop on medical and environmental microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology. "A part of me has remained in Dohuk with the special people there."

For more information, contact Lori Scott Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 709-5959 or Helen Miller in the Center for International Education at (254) 710-2657.

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