Gateway Community College (GCC) recently received notification from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that it was among 842 libraries and state humanities councils in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands to be awarded the “Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.”
The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf is a collection of books, films and other resources designed to introduce the American public to the complex history of Muslims in the United States and around the world. It is part of the NEH’s “Bridging Cultures” collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), designed to promote understanding and mutual respect among people with diverse histories, cultures and perspectives.
The core of the Muslim Bookshelf is 25 books, three films and access to Oxford Islamic Studies Online. The collection will be housed in GCC’s Library and Learning Commons.
Clara Ogbaa, Ed. D., director of Library Services, Susan Chenard and Renee Gaines, both professors of English in the Humanities Department, and Carol Pompano, Community Partnerships coordinator, collectively applied for the award.
GCC was among only 10 organizations to receive NEH awards in Connecticut, and one of only two in New Haven. Additionally, GCC was the only community college among state awardees; joined by Southern Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University and the Suffield branch of the Lincoln College of New England as the only Connecticut institutions of higher education to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.
Grantees are expected to develop and provide other resources and events to promote the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf and foster community dialogue, including partnering with a “sister” organization. To that end, GCC will collaborate with the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International Area Studies at Yale University – through its Program on International Educational Resources (PIER) – to offer a broad program of education, information research and dialogue about Islam. To support GCC’s grant application, the MacMillan Center wrote a letter of support for the grant application and will collaborate with GCC to promote and support potential lectures, forums and workshops at the College. (For more information about PIER, visit http://www.yale.edu/macmillan/pier.)
“Making a ‘home’ for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf here provides Gateway with a tremendous opportunity to reach out to our diverse student body and the much broader community with messages of peace, hope and healing,” Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick, Gateway’s president, said. “We look forward to working with Yale University’s MacMillan Center to explore ways to combat intolerance, violence and mistrust and create an environment of mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence, both locally and globally.”