New Jersey Stage

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monmouth University Selected for International Program to Bridge Cultural Divide Between American and Muslim Cultures

(West Long Branch, NJ) --  Monmouth University is in the vanguard of a new international program aimed at establishing greater understanding between American and Muslim societies. Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet is a groundbreaking artistic and cultural exchange program meant to showcase the diversity of contemporary Islamic cultures through their art and culture.

Caravanserai is led by Arts Midwest, the non-profit regional arts organization (RAO) serving America's upper mid-west on behalf of the nation's six Regional Arts Organizations.

Caravanserai is funded by a one million dollar grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA) Building Bridges program.

Monmouth University successfully applied to be one of five pilot organizations for Caravanserai, which will launch in October 2011. Nearly two years in the making, Caravanserai: A place where cultures meet begins with a pilot program in five US cities, including West Long Branch, NJ.  Caravanserai comprises a series of community-based performing arts and film programs featuring art and artists from Muslim cultures.

The pilot program will focus on music and film from Pakistan and will feature compelling contemporary vocal and instrumental music as well as an award winning Pakistani filmmaker.

Future programming will feature other geographic regions and artistic disciplines and will travel to more cities in the United States.

"We look forward to hosting Caravanserai in the fall.  I am proud that Monmouth was selected as a pilot site.   The University community will enjoy and learn from the  many  music, film, cultural, and educational events that Caravanserei will enable" stated President Paul G. Gaffney II.

"The name Caravanserai was carefully selected for this program," says David Fraher, executive director of Arts Midwest. "Historically, in the east and middle-east, stopping places for caravans were called caravanserais. Safe places to sit around the fire, come together, and exchange stories. The name evokes that imagery of travelers in a safe haven, in a place where cultures meet. We're delighted that Monmouth University is providing one of those stopping places for an exciting cultural experience."

Caravanserai will come to West Long Branch, NJ in October and will include three arts residencies including two weeklong musical residency tours with Ustad Tari Khan, Najmuddin Saifuddin Qawwals, Arif Lohar and Sanam Marvi.  Caravanserai also will include a residency with Pakistani filmmaker Ayesha Khan.  South Arts, the RAO serving the southeastern US is managing the film component of Caravanserai.

Monmouth University will have several announcements in the coming months regarding specific Caravanserai events throughout West Long Branch, NJ.

For more information, visit

The complete Caravanserai tour includes:

v  The Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire;  Littleton, NH
v  Artswego SUNY Oswego;  Oswego, NY
v  FirstWorks;  Providence, RI
v  Monmouth University;  West Long Branch, NJ
v  The Myrna Loy Center;  Helena, MT