GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Following what Amherst College President Carolyn “Biddy” Martin hailed as its “highly successful” mission to Congo’s ethnically charged North Kivu region, the college’s seaborne Multicultural Resource Center deployed to Karachi, Pakistan Friday to quell Hindu-Muslim tensions that threaten to destabilize already-tense Indian-Pakistani military relations and that fail to appreciate the value of inclusion in our diverse community of learning.
With a new, full-time captain, the seaborne MRC is now equipped to offer its critical cultural programming in the world’s geopolitical hotspots. That emotional firepower was on display in Africa, where Congolese government officials credited the center’s warm, inviting interior, with multiple coffee dispensers and two couches, for the signing of a historic peace accord with the M23 rebels and the removal of a culturally insensitive poster from a door on the first floor of King Hall.
In Karachi, the seaborne MRC will host a new series of ‘Elephant in the Room’ gatherings, including frank discussions on such topics as “Why Terrorism?”, “Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi, and Sariaki: Many Paths to a Liberal Arts Education,” and “Gays in Ancient Muslim Lore.” The seaborne MRC also plans to make stops in Tel Aviv and Baghdad, though NATO officials stress that the center’s precise operational details cannot be disclosed due to security concerns.
With its modern glass exterior and lengthy open-dock hours, the seaborne MRC will continue to serve as a highly visible nexus for needed conversations across the world, says Martin. “This has been a priority of mine since Day One.”