Gordon in the News: last updated 11/01/2009

First Visiting Fulbright Scholar Brings Unique Perspective on Islam to Gordon

September 30, 2009
Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA—In continuing its tradition of interfaith dialogue and academic engagement with diverse perspectives, Gordon College will host its first ever Fulbright scholar this fall. Dr. Is-haq Akintola, who focuses his studies on the peaceful teachings of Islam, is the associate professor of Islamic studies at Lagos State University in Nigeria, a country where tensions have risen sharply between Christians and Muslims in the past decade.

“Gordon College is extremely honored to host Dr. Akintola, our first visiting Fulbright scholar,” said Dr. Cliff Hersey, director of global education and chair of Gordon’s Fulbright Scholars committee. “The Fulbright’s unique specialists program called, ‘Direct Access to the Muslim World’ provides our students and community a rare opportunity to engage with a leading scholar in an essential dialogue of mutual understanding.”

From October 19 until November 6, 2009, Dr. Akintola will lecture in various classes on the Gordon campus and throughout the North Shore. He will focus his discussions on his expertise in the peaceful teachings of Islam, the basis of which is in building interpersonal relationships, peaceful coexistence, justice and equal rights. Dr. Akintola wrote in a recent letter that he hopes his visit will help bridge the communication gap between Muslims, Christians and others in the North Shore area, especially as he also interacts with local community partners such as the Hamilton-Wenham School District, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and other institutions of higher education.

“Dr. Akintola’s work in Nigeria—from his scholarship and lectures to his books and articles—reflects his vision for learning from and with others,” said Pamela Thuswaldner, adjunct professor of foreign language and Gordon’s Fulbright Scholarship coordinator. “He is very interested in working toward common ground and his strong commitment to hearing from people in the West to achieve that will be a great benefit for us.”

Fulbright scholars are a part of the international educational exchange program, which was designed by the United States government to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided close to 300,000 participants with opportunities to study, teach, conduct research and exchange ideas with others who share similar concerns with international issues.

Highlights of Dr. Akintola’s visit—which are free and open to the public—include:  

•“The Implementation of Shariah in Northern Nigeria,” a lecture at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary on Monday, October 26 at 7 p.m.
•A lecture and workshop for the Hamilton-Wenham school district’s middle and high school faculty and community on Thursday, October 29 at 4 p.m. at the Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.
•“Understanding Islam: a Dialogue,” a lecture at the A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel on Friday, October 30 at 10:20 a.m. This event is free and open to the public.
•”What Information Do Teachers Need to Understand Students and Parents of Islamic Faith?” a lecture on Sunday, November 1 at 4 p.m. at Phillips Recital Hall at Gordon College.

For more information please contact the Office of College Communications, 978.867.4752.


Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on
Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has
graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in
Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in
academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize
Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.