Center for Global Islamic Studies Welcomes New Director

Dr. Benjamin Soares, new Director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies

Since its launch in 2014, Dr. Terje Østebø has been at the helm of University of Florida’s Center for Global Islamic Studies (CGIS) as its Director. However, his tenure comes to an end this Fall semester. Taking over from Dr. Østebø is Dr. Benjamin Soares.

The Center for Global Islamic Studies’ mission is to deepen our understanding of the diversity of Muslim cultures and societies in the contemporary global context. The center is inter-disciplinary in nature and includes faculty from the departments of Religion, Anthropology, History, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and Political Science, as well as the Center for African Studies and the Center for European Studies.

Dr. Østebø expressed his gratitude to have served as Director for the last few years. He said, “It has been a fantastic opportunity to build and lead the center in its formative years, and I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the center’s success.”

The new Director, Prof. Soares, came to UF from the African Studies Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, in January 2017, joining the Department of Religion as a new faculty member. He is an anthropologist and scholar of Islam and Muslim societies in Africa whose research focuses on religious life from the early 20th century to the present. He has conducted research in Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan, as well as among West African Muslims in Europe and Asia. In addition to interests in religious encounters and religion, media, and the public sphere, he is studying contemporary Muslim public intellectuals in Africa. He recently co-edited the book,Muslim Youth and the 9/11 Generation.

Dr. Østebø added, “I am confident in Prof. Soares’ abilities to direct the Center for Global Islamic Studies, and I encourage everyone to join me in welcoming him as the new director.”