Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.- Bard College is sponsoring an innovative two-week program in
association with Dutchess County BOCES for twenty-five high school students. The Jay P.
Rolison Jr. Summer Scholars program at Bard, June 29 through July 9, will help develop
a dialogue on and cultural understanding of Arab, Jewish, and Christian relations in
the Middle East.

The program is directed by Lourdes Maria Alvarez, assistant professor of Spanish and
codirector of the Latin American and Iberian Studies program at Bard College. It offers
a group of gifted tenth- and eleventh-grade Dutchess County high school students a
unique opportunity to study this subject in a college setting. 

The twenty-five high school students selected from thirteen school districts will have
four hours of intensive language study in Arabic and Hebrew each day. Evenings they
will take part in lectures and discussions on the culture and history of the Middle
East and Arab-Jewish relations. In New York City they will visit the Islamic Center, a
mosque, for introduction to Islamic practice and belief, and the Holocaust Museum. 

State Senator Stephen Saland describes the Summer Scholars program as "marvelous. It
offers opportunities to the county's most talented students for academic challenge in a
collegiate environment."

Alvarez designed the program to foster a dialogue about and cultural understanding of
the complexities of the Middle East and Arab, Jewish, and Christian relations
-continued- through study of the language and customs of the countries and cultures.
While one of the goals of this program is to introduce high school students to
languages and subjects they would not ordinarily study, another aim is to "find a
common ground amid subjects that can be divisive," notes Alvarez. She continues,
saying, "I hope this will spark the students to study these languages when they go to
college, and perhaps pursue careers in international relations or Middle Eastern
studies." Many of the students already have a basic knowledge of either Hebrew or
Arabic, according to Rose Barer of Dutchess County BOCES, and will study the other
language in the Summer Scholars program. 

The public is invited to the performances that take place in conjunction with the
program. On Tuesday, June 29, at 7:00 p.m. Robert Esformes will perform Sephardic music
in Olin Language Center, Room 115. On Wednesday, July 7, at 7:00 p.m., Jonathan Delson
will present an evening of international folk dancing in the Bertelsmann Campus Center
multipurpose room. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Jay P. Rolison Jr. Summer Scholars program, the only one of its kind in New York
State, was established thirteen years ago at Bard College. It has since been expanded
to three additional institutions-Marist, Vassar, and Dutchess County Community
Colleges-each with a different focus. The program is funded by a New York State
legislative initiative sponsored by Senator Saland, Dutchess County school districts,
and in-kind contributions from the four colleges. 

For further information about the Summer Scholars program at Bard College, call

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001