The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host a free community panel where students will share their experiences studying abroad in Spain and prominent community members will discuss efforts to promote religious tolerance in Arkansas and their experiences with prejudice.
The panel discussion, entitled “Together Little Rock,” will take place in the Legends Room of the Jack Stephens Center at UA Little Rock at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The panel will include Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Dr. Sara Tariq, co-founder of the Madina Institute and board member for the Interfaith Center, the Hon. Annabelle Imber Tuck, board member for the Interfaith Center and Congregation B’Nai Israel in Little Rock and the first woman elected as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and UA Little Rock students and study abroad participants Torri Richardson and Nick Junker.
The students who attended the trip, all part of the Islam and Migration in Contemporary and Historical Spain course, will also be in attendance to talk about their experiences abroad and share photos and souvenirs with the audience. Students who went on the trip include Steve Abouem, Armando Arellano, Madison Ellis, Scott Filek, Owen Hayes, Nicholas Junker, Kenedy Kuchinski, Torri Richardson, Misty Roberts, Alexander Shahegh, and Isaac Thomas.
Dr. Rebecca Glazier, professor in the School of Public Affairs, accompanied the students on this trip as their faculty advisor. The group spent 12 days in Spain this summer visiting spots in Madrid, Toledo, Granada, and Salobreña.
“Most of them had never been out of the country, and some hadn’t even been on an airplane before,” Dr. Glazier said. “I’m glad they were all able to come. We went deep and saw much more than just the top tourist attractions, and it was a unique experience that the students wouldn’t have gotten by themselves or with a tour group.”
One of the most significant activities was the opportunity to connect with a nonprofit organization centered in Spain called Arco Forum. It is run by refugees, mostly from Turkey, who have set up cultural programs and efforts to help other Muslim refugees integrate to Spain.
“The students had a lot of fun, but the trip also opened their eyes to Islamophobia and prejudice in the country and around the world,” Dr. Glazier said. “This event will be a good way to open that conversation here in Little Rock and ask what we can do better and how we can better connect with their community.”