Dordt College News

Christian in Muslim lands: Nora Staal to share perspective on religion and politics

April 13, 2012

As a child, Nora Staal’s parents’ careers as foreign aid workers took the family to the Middle East and Africa. Having grown up as a Reformed Christian in a Muslim world, Staal now has a unique perspective on religion and government. She has put this knowledge to use working as an expert on Sudan and South Sudan for the U.S. State Department and for the National Democratic Institute.

On Monday, April 16, Staal will present “A Christian Perspective on Conflicts over National Identity” at Dordt College at 11 a.m. in the B.J. Haan Auditorium. She’ll also hold a general discussion with the History of the Muslim World class at 7:30 p.m., in the Ribbens Academic Complex room CL1144, and the public is welcome to attend. Her talks are co-sponsored by Dordt College and Northwestern College.

“There are many conflicts and crises occurring throughout the world today, especially in the Middle East and Africa. As Christians, we should be informed about these events,” said Bobbi Sutherland, Dordt College assistant professor of history. “Nora not only works professionally in these areas of the world, but she grew up there so she has great familiarity with these regions.”

A round table lunch discussion will be held on Tuesday, April 17, at 11 a.m. in the presidential dining room in the commons for any students interested in government. Email Sutherland at to reserve your spot at the table.

Staal’s childhood was spent in Sudan, Kenya, and Israel. She has also lived in Morocco, Tunisia, and Syria, and she currently lives in Washington, D.C. Staal earned her B.A. in philosophy and communications from Hope College, her M.A. in African Studies from Yale University, and her post-graduate certificate in Arabic from Georgetown. She also did graduate work (non-degree seeking) at the Syrian University in Damascus. In her discussions at Dordt College, Staal will speak as a private citizen, and her views do not represent any government agency.

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