We are proud to announce that Director of GISC, Karla Mallette, has been appointed Chair of the Department of Middle East Studies. Karla will be serving as the Department Chair for the next five years.

While we are excited for Karla and this new opportunity,  she will be greatly missed here at the II and Global Islamic Studies Center. Karla Mallette has served as the Director of the Global Islamic Studies Center (formerly the Islamic Studies Program) since 2014. Karla brought a uniquely creative culture to GISC. Through her leadership, she established GISC as a leader in the field of Islamic Studies and allowed the center to take on a global and diverse representation of Islam.

Karla was strategic in how she led GISC, and this can be seen in a variety of her achievements over the years. She believed in focusing on the diversity of Muslim experience and engaging the students and GISC community in new and untraditional ways, using films, art, festivals, and more. A perfect example of this includes Halaloween: A Muslim Horror Film Festival which was the first series of its kind globally and had over 400 attendees. Karla’s creativity and willingness to take risks brought in a variety of new faces into our GISC community garnered enthusiasm & attention from a diversity of people and allowed GISC to act as a space for intersectional Muslim voices.

Karla believed in engaging the community and that the local community was indispensable.  She made sure that our audiences for any events always included the community by keeping our events open to the public, free, and as inclusive as possible. This is because Karla believed that engaging the Michigan Muslim community was beneficial for everyone involved: scholars, students, staff, and faculty. Connections were a priority for Karla, and through engaging the local community, we were able to provide programming that engaged relevant issues of the present. A series of events dedicated to community engagement was made possible through an Enterprise Fund award to GISC during Karla’s time as director. The Enterprise Fund supported a series of community events that brought the local community to the Ann Arbor campus and brought GISC to spaces where the local community naturally thrived. The series included past and upcoming events:

 Stories Never Told: Yemen’s Crises & Renaissance (AANM)

 Stories Never Told: Yemen’s Crises & Renaissance (On Campus)

Community & Connections: Muslim Entrepreneurs in Metro-Detroit

Muslims in the Digital Age: Podcasting & Illustration with Misha Euceph and Emmen Ahmed at the UMMA

Muslims in the Digital Age: Podcasting & Illustration with Misha Euceph and Emmen Ahmed at the Room Project

Karla will begin her role as Middle East Studies Department Chair on July 1, 2020. Please join us in congratulating and thanking Karla for all the work she has done to bring GISC where it is today.