Roberson, KSC Alum, Named Fulbright Scholar

Dr. George F. Roberson (Keene (NH) State College, BA ’86 American Studies and Geography / University of Massachusetts – Amherst, MS '03 Geography, PhD ’06 Geosciences) has been named a Fulbright Scholar by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). Sponsored by the United States Department of State, CIES offers academics from the USA granting opportunities in 150 countries and awards approximately 160 research grants annually.

A cultural geographer, Roberson’s ten month “traditional” Fulbright research grant will support his ongoing efforts in Tangier, Morocco. Roberson recently launched the new project with a paper titled "Tangier: Visualizing the City” at Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Tetouan, Morocco and at the Annual Tangier International Conference, Dr. Khalid Amine, Director. “With the surge of violence in recent years,” Roberson says, “it is essential we develop constructive alternatives – this project does so by fostering collaborative cross-cultural dialog.”

Roberson is shown here in Tangier keeping up with Keene State news via a recent copy of “Keene State Today” magazine. Taken in the city center, a pointed archway is visible in the background that connects the “old” city, dating from Roman times, to the “new” city of the 20th century colonial period. It was Roberson’s eighth trip to Morocco since first visiting in 1991.

On the northwestern tip of Africa, Tangier is just 10 miles from Europe across the Straits of Gibraltar. At the crossroads of lands, seas and cultures, the city’s colorful and contentious history dates from the arrival of Phoenician traders in 6000 B.C. Long a diplomatic city — Morocco was the first country to recognize U.S. independence — during the mid-20th century Tangier became world famous as a free-wheeling business center and literary enclave.

Today the city is undergoing rapid and dynamic change: major projects include, significant tourist and resort expansion, including Africa’s largest casino; construction of a multi-billion dollar international container port; construction of the trans-straits tunnel, which will provide rail links between the African and European continents; and highway construction that will connect, for the first time ever, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa with a paved road.

Of his Keene State days, Roberson credits several faculty with lifelong influence – especially, geographers Prof. Al Rydant, Prof. Tom Havill, Prof. Klaus Bayr; historian Prof. David Leinster and art historian Prof. Henry Freedman. “As an undergrad,” Roberson recalls, “my main thing was ski racing and Prof. Charlie Beach (our coach) probably had the biggest impact on me then. But now, after all these years, I often recall these people and their lectures, and I draw on their wisdom and inspiration. Thank you Keene State.”

Roberson’s Fulbright research project is detailed on the web, click here.

This article is available in abbreviated form in Keene State Today, the Keene State College (NH) alumni magazine, click here.