Author Archives: admin

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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Marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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Today in the Sultanate…

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Today in Oman

Happily overwhelmed with publication deadlines, I took a short break from writing today to collect seashells and practice tai chi on the beach in the sunny Sultanate of Oman. After working out in the water, I headed over to Angelina at The Wave for a luscious lunch…

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Angelina in Oman

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National Adoption Day…

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Image from the New York Times

Since today is National Adoption Day, here is my New York Times adoption essay on my Slavic background and Russian name…

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National Day in Oman…

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Shopping for National Day (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Wishing everyone here in the Sultanate of Oman a Happy 47th National Day! As you can see in the photo above, I had fun shopping this week at the mall for festive red, green, and white gear for today’s holiday. Last night, my friend and I enjoyed a lovely sea swim at sunset followed by dinner and fireworks on the beach. As you can see below, even the bun of my friend’s burger was decked out in Oman’s national colors. This afternoon, I had the pleasure of watching the National Day military parade presided over by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos (who in my opinion — and that of many others — is the best leader in the world). His Majesty is a true man of peace — and has done more than anyone else alive to bring peace to the Middle East. It is a privilege, joy, and honor to live in the Sultanate of Oman under the wise leadership of His Majesty — Long May He Live!

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Patriotic dinner in Oman

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مبروك

Sultan Qaboos University

Sultan Qaboos University

I would like to wish my graduating humanities students at Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman a hearty congratulations on a job well-done and a degree well-earned! Mabrook / مبروك! It is a true honor and joy to teach the promising future of Oman!

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Sunset in Oman…

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Beach time (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

After a late and leisurely brunch at Angelina yesterday in Muscat, my friend and I took a serene sunset swim in the stunning Sultanate of Oman…

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Loving Lebanon…

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I love Beirut (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I’ve been following the resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the Saudi purge closely and with concern. I had the joy of living in Beirut for three years while teaching at the American University of Beirut, and I sincerely hope that things there get resolved quickly and peacefully. Stay strong, Lebanon!

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New Publication: Sufism & the State in Central Asia…

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Sufism in Central Asia (Photos: Emily O’Dell)

Since Islam in Uzbekistan has been trending in the news in the wake of the New York City terrorist attack, I thought I would share my new publication, “Subversives and Saints: Sufism and the State in Central Asia,” in the book Islam, Society and Politics in Central Asia — a wonderful resource at a time when media coverage of the region is so lacking (and often dangerously wrong). This fall, I had the honor of being the expert guest speaker for the Commonwealth Club of California (America’s oldest and largest public policy forum) in Central Asia (Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, along with Azerbaijan) to share my expertise and experience on the Silk Road. I have had the rare opportunity (and pleasure!) to spend extended periods of time in all five Central Asian Republics plus Mongolia (even lived in Turkmenistan twice!). Seeing Islam in Central Asia trending in the media has brought back fond memories of my time living on the Silk Road — and of being a guest of honor in India at a conference on Sufism in India and Central Asia with Ambassadors from Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

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Waking up in Oman…

Rise and shine...

Rise and shine…

Starting my day off in the Sultanate of Oman with a smile — with much work to do, fun to be had, friends to see…

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Dig It…

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A special find (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Over the years, we’ve uncovered some amazing finds at our ancient site in Sudan. We’ve found statues, column bases, hieroglyphs, mummies and so much more…

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Dig it

I have, of course, treasured every find I’ve encountered while excavating in Sudan and working at the Great Pyramids of Giza on a Brown University-Cairo University dig as Chief Epigrapher. But this little lion statue from Sudan holds a special place in my heart — can’t say why, exactly, but it just does. I adore it.

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A secret from the sand (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

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مسجد جامع یزد

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Exploring Yazd (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I had the opportunity to admire the brilliant mosaics decorating the Jameh Mosque of Yazd this fall while a guest speaker for Harvard University in the Islamic Republic of Iran…

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Whirling in Paradise…

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Eram Garden in Iran (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Whenever I travel as a guest speaker to the Islamic Republic of Iran — as I did this fall for Harvard University — I like to whirl through Eram Garden, the template for paradise

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تخت جمشید

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Exploring Iran (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Seriously come to the ruins of Persepolis in the Islamic Republic of Iran — my friendly gatekeeper friends await you!

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Communing with Nature…

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Conjuring in Asia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Looking forward to sharing more about this image and research endeavor soon in my academic work, stay tuned…

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Cyrus the Great…

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Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Iran (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Iranians gather every year on October 29th to celebrate the unofficial holiday of “Cyrus Day.” I was at his tomb last year just hours before the large gathering emerged and evolved into a protest. As a result, the authorities were fearing what might unfold there this year. According to the powers that be, they foiled an online plan yesterday to organize an “illegal gathering” at the site. All roads to leading to Pasargad were closed.

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Rossini in the Sultanate…

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Last night in Oman

I had the joy of seeing Gioachino Rossini’s L’Occasione fa il Ladro (Opportunity Makes a Thief) last night at the Royal Opera House in Muscat — great show (even wore some of my new Turkmen jewelry)! If you visit the Sultanate of Oman, definitely book a ticket to see a show at the Opera House or at least take a tour of it — it’s not to be missed!

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Commonwealth Club in Central Asia…

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Commonwealth Club of California on the Caspian

I was very happy and grateful to be the expert guest speaker in Central Asia for the Commonwealth Club of California, the oldest and largest public affairs forum in the United States. Some of the many notable speakers in the history of the Club have included U.S. presidents back to Teddy Roosevelt (too many to count), Hillary Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, Mikhail Gorbachev, Kofi Annan, Robert F. Kennedy, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The mission of The Commonwealth Club of California is to be the leading national forum open to all for the impartial discussion of important public issues. Having spent significant periods of time in all five Central Asian Republics, I was elated to have the opportunity to share my expertise and experience in situ on the Silk Road in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. Since I lived twice in Turkmenistan, I was especially delighted to share my experiences there with such an adventurous and enlightened group.

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Caravanserai dinner on the Silk Road

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Harvard in Iran…

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Enjoying Esfahan (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I was humbled and honored to be the expert guest speaker for Harvard University in the Islamic Republic of Iran this fall. Being with this adventurous and intelligent group brought back fond memories of my time teaching Near Eastern Studies at Harvard. It always brings me great pleasure to introduce Americans to Iranian literature, history, art, archaeology, culture, and film to increase understanding between our two nations. I’m looking forward to returning soon to Iran, inshallah…

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Stanford in Iran…

Stanford in Dubai (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Stanford in Dubai (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I was honored to share my Iranian expertise and experience with adventurous folks from Stanford in Dubai on their way to travel through the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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گنبد جبليه

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Exploring Iran (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful and unique building — Gonbad-e Jabaliye — while an expert guest speaker for Harvard University in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The original purpose of this octagonal stone masterpiece in Kerman remains a mystery. I’m happy to share that I will now start posting photos more regularly (upon request!) from my far-flung travels from Mongolia to Rwanda and many places in between.

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On Being: Refugee Yoga in Beirut…

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Refugee Yoga in Beirut (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

If you enjoyed my new NPR essay for On Being, “Performing ‘Our Town’ in Oman,” you might also like my previous On Being essay “Refugee Yoga in Beirut.”

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My New NPR Essay: Performing Our Town in Oman…

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Performing Our Town in Oman

I am so grateful that NPR’s stellar program On Being has published my latest essay — “Performing Our Town in Oman.” Thank you for any help in sharing the piece/peace via Facebook/Twitter/email. Here is a link as well to my previous On Being piece, “Refugee Yoga in Beirut.” Enjoy!

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Coming Soon…

Waking up in Dubai (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

Waking up this week-end in Dubai (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) this summer and fall with speaking engagements, fellowships, upcoming publications, and travel — so I’m looking forward to sharing all of my photos from the road soon when I catch up to myself!

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Gorillas in the Mist…

With my gorilla family in Uganda (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

With my gorilla family in Uganda (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Gorillas in the mist — and me! Here is a photo of me with my gorilla family this week in Uganda. I have so much to share from these past few months. My recent adventurous travels have carried me to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Mongolia, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Burundi, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the United Arab Emirates — so I’m a bit behind on sharing snapshots from the road. Stay tuned though, as I will soon be sharing unique glimpses of everything from yurt life in Mongolia to gorilla babies in Uganda. Never a dull moment!

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Cambridge Conference…

Cambridge University

Cambridge University

It was a delight to speak today at Cambridge University on Omani literature at the Gender and Identity in the Gulf: Cultural Constructions and Representations Conference of the Gulf Research Centre. Many thanks to the organizers who made it all possible!

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Birthday Boy…

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Celebrating Anubis (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

Happy birthday to the sweet heartbeat at my feet! I enjoyed a quiet day at home yesterday in the Sultanate of Oman celebrating Anubis’ birth and fourteen years of growing old together! Lots of snuggles and treats!

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My old man (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

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Naadam in Mongolia…

This week in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O'Dell)

This week in Mongolia (Photo: Emily O’Dell)

And the award for cutest Mongolian baby wrestler goes to…this little guy! A delight to celebrate Naadam in Mongolia!

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