April 12 Program: The U.S.-Omani Partnership

“From the Sultan to the Smithsonian: The Surprising History of Omani-US Relations”
Date:  Thursday, April 12, 2018

Time:  Membership Social at 7:30; Program at 8:00 p.m.


AccessThanks to a grant from our sponsors the World Affairs Councils of America and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, this program is free of charge to all who attend!

Allen Fromherz
Dr.Allen J. Fromherz

The Omani-US relationship has a long history: Oman was one of the first states to recognize the United States and to offer preferred trading status to US traders and ships. In fact, many Southern merchants, including from Savannah,  were a part of this trade. The visit of the Omani ambassador to the United States during the presidency of Van Buren created a sensation, and his gift helped found the Smithsonian and Peabody Collections. Today Oman is seen as a vital partner and peacemaker in the region. This talk highlights the most important events in the intriguing history of the United States and Oman.

Allen J. Fromherz, Ph.D. is Professor of Mediterranean and Gulf History at Georgia State University, Atlanta.  He is also Director of GSU’s Middle East Studies Center.  He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College in 2002 and received his Ph.D. in Medieval Islamic History from St. Andrews University in Scotland in 2006.

Dr. Fromherz’s research focuses on the Mediterranean and the Gulf.  His first two books, The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire and Ibn Khaldun, Life and Times examine rapid change in lineage-based societies, especially the rise of the Almohads in the 12th century. Originating in the Atlas Mountains, the Almohads controlled much of the Western Mediterranean.   Dr. Fromherz’s work on the life and writings of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (d. 1406), a great historical thinker, inspired his recent interest in the countries of the Gulf. Examining questions of change, modernization, identity and culture, his 2013 book Qatar, A Modern History looks beneath the surface of oil and gas wealth and examines the importance of memory, lineage and loyalty in Qatari and Gulf society from the 19th century to the present. His latest book (2016) is entitled The Near West: Medieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial Age. Dr. Fromherz’s next book, under contract with Harvard University Press, is entitled The Global Gulf: A History.  He has also published numerous articles, including “The Qatar Crisis in Context” in The American Interest.

In addition to serving on GSU’s College Honors Curriculum Committee and University Internal Grant Committee, Dr. Fromherz is currently the President of the American Institute for Maghreb Studies (AIMS) where he chairs the fellowship review committee. He also is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Fulbright Scholarship, the Royal Historical Society ORS for his Ph.D. at St. Andrews, The Gerda Henkel Stiftung Fellowship, New York University Abu Dhabi, and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) Fellowship in Oman.  He has appeared on France 5 TV, National Public Radio, Australian National Radio and BBC Radio 4.  Dr. Fromherz is passionate about teaching and believes in learning in the world outside the classroom. Each year he takes students in his honors class outside the classroom to the High Museum in Atlanta.  He has directed three study abroad programs to Spain (Marvels of Medieval Spain) and a program to Rome (Marvels of Medieval and Ancient Italy) in 2015. Lectures and class activities during these programs are never in a room – they are at sites, monuments or museums – places where history can be experienced, not just studied.

 Sponsors of this Program

Each year the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) National Office partners with think tanks, foundations, NGOs, corporations, and occasionally government agencies to arrange timely “national conversations” at several World Affairs Councils across the country on critical international topics.

The Savannah Council on World Affairs is one of only eight Councils selected to participate in WACA’s Engage America Series: Oman 2018, which is being presented by the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC).  The goal is to enhance Americans’ understanding of the country of Oman and its important ties to the United States.

The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) is dedicated to educating the peoples of the United States and Oman about the breadth and richness of our two cultures.  SQCC promotes mutual respect and understanding between our nations and strives to educate a new generation of culturally sensitive and knowledgeable citizens in each society. Through outreach programs, scholarships, lectures, educational resources, cultural partnerships, and SQCC’s Cultural Center in Washington, DC, SQCC brings the culture, history, and heritage of our nations to audiences in the United States and abroad.  For more information, please visit http://www.sqcc.org.

Savannah Council on World Affairs appreciates both Sponsors’ support.