Hello all! Marhaba. I’m very excited to be joining as your fourth instructor this semester in Morocco. My name is Kevin, and this will be my first time working with Dragons, which is very exciting. I’ve spent the past year living in Morocco, and the year before that I was able to travel to Morocco a number of times while working on a research project based in Northwest Africa. So I’m looking forward to being able to share some of the greatness of Morocco with you all, and also to discover things and places I’ve yet to encounter in my time living/traveling here!
I come to Morocco after many years of studying and traveling between the US and the Arabic speaking world. I’ve largely focused my studies within the fields of religious and Islamic studies, and after minoring in religious studies in college and spending a year living in Amman, Jordan, I went to graduate school to continue my studies in the Religion Department at Columbia University. Since then (and before coming to Morocco) I’ve been able to spend another summer in Amman, travel throughout Palestine/Israel, spend a summer in Oman, and travel in Beirut. Traveling throughout these various places has been a pleasure, challenge, and a privilege. I’ve been able to study different Arabic dialects in multiple contexts, and I’ve been able to learn about and grow in these different places in ways that have had a major influence on who I am today.
Some other things about me: I hail from Los Angeles, and grew up exploring California, collecting records, and reading as much as possible. My library continues to grow even as I move from place to place, so now it exists scattered across a couple of continents. I spent many years in high school and college as a camp counselor and advisor to youth programs, where I learned how great it can be to connect with a small group of people, in a sustained and intense way, over shared interests and activities. To my mind Dragons takes that idea and multiplies it quite a bit in terms of time and intensity, and I’m excited to join the team and spend the semester with you all, getting to know you and helping facilitate your travels throughout Morocco.
Personally, I’m looking forward to experience Morocco in a new way, while continuing to get better at my Darija (Moroccan Arabic) skills and seeing new parts of the country. I’ve spent the past few years studying the history of modern Morocco, from the colonial period to the present, and I’m especially keen to think with this history as we all travel together, seeing new places within which this history is embodied in different ways. I recommend you all come excited to eat well, see some pretty immense natural and human spaces, and with an open mind to what you might encounter. I always think its important to notice that while you might be going to a new place, and experiencing new things that are different or strange to you, it is also incredible the similarities that you will encounter, and the ease within which you can become comfortable through minor pivots and flexibility. Openness and thoughtfulness are key, and will help you discover more thoroughly yourself and Morocco as we move through these coming months. We are going to all be learning from and with each other, and I’m excited at the prospect of spending this time with you all.
Feel free to reach out with any questions or thoughts, be they serious or silly.
All best until we meet,