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Spring 2014

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Leading By Example

Participants in Dr. Greenbaum's Comic Book Peace Project • View of Haifa

By Walter Villa

International experiences shape Barry’s faculty.

The more professors know firsthand, the more wisdom they can impart to their students. Barry’s distinguished faculty come from a variety of backgrounds and have unique interests, providing students an exciting opportunity to learn from different perspectives, especially from those who have recently traveled overseas in an ongoing pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

Comics Crusade

For two weeks in December 2012, Dr. Andrea Greenbaum traveled to Haifa – the third-largest city in Israel – on what she calls the Comic Book Peace Project. Greenbaum, a professor and director of the Professional Writing Program at Barry, teaches “Graphic Novel as Literature” through the English department’s humanities course offerings.

“I thought it would be interesting to take that on the road,” Greenbaum said. “And I thought Israel would be great, because I’m interested in coexistence.”

In Haifa, Greenbaum worked with a wide range of students, from elementary to high school, and taught them to use the comic book software program, Comic Life. She found the children motivated and excited as they put together their own comics based on their lives and their imaginations.

The project was made possible by Barry’s Ambassador Jean Wilkowski International Fellowship Award, and through a grant from the United States Embassy-Tel Aviv.

Greenbaum created a film that documents the project and the spirit of Haifa, including an interview with Maher Mahamid, the director of the Clore Children’s Library and Cultural Center. Mahamid said he wants his library to be the center of kids’ culture in Haifa, with books in Arabic, Hebrew, and English.

Greenbaum discovered that Haifa does a great job of peaceful coexistence, and Mahamid explained why.

“We are not going to talk about politics because then we are not going to be friends,” Mahamid said. “In Haifa, there is a peaceful life. Maybe it’s because Moses wasn’t here; Jesus wasn’t here; Muhammad wasn’t here.”

In Haifa, economics seem to trump politics.

“We can meet each other,” Mahamid said, “about the things we have in common – music, culture, dancing.” And comic books.