Published: Oct. 31, 2017

For more than three decades, Professor Yusur Wajih Al-Madani of Kuwait University has made extraordinary progress for students in her country. But first, she gleaned inspiration in Boulder.

If you go

Who: Open to the public
What: 'Such a Transformation!' Shakespeare Re-made, Sulayman Al-Bassam's Richard III, an Arab Tragedy
When: Friday, Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Norlin Library, Center for British and Irish Studies, room M549

Al-Madani came to CU Boulder in the late 1970s and was the first Kuwaiti to earn a PhD in English literature with an American emphasis. She demonstrated great ability in deciphering complex texts and an eloquent writing style, despite her non-native language.

Said a friend from CU: “As a professor of literature I am totally awed by Yusur’s intellectual and scholarly development in a range of literatures and cultures that would seem to have taken several lifetimes to master.”

On Nov. 3, the 2017 George Norlin Award recipient will present a reading of The Arab Shakespeare Trilogy: The Al-Hamlet Summit; Richard III, An Arab Tragedy; The Speaker's Progress, written by Kuwaiti playwright and director Sulayman Al-Bassam, working from the premise that the meaning of a text is not bound to its authorial intent or its unique historical context but rather to the context of its reception. Al-Madani will argue for a new perspective for understanding adaptations.

Speaking of Shakespeare . . . The Colorado Shakespeare Festival has announced the 2018 season lineup, kicking off June 9.

About the speaker

As associate dean for Academic Affairs at Kuwait University, Al-Madani developed and gained accreditation for the university’s College of Arts. From there, she also chaired the now thriving French Department. In 2009, she was awarded the Palm Academic Award by the French ambassador on behalf of the French Republic for her efforts in launching the department, the first in the Gulf area.

Said a colleague, “Yusur makes everyone around her—undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and administrators alike—want to aim higher for themselves, for the university and for community.”

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