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Culture, Identity, & Religion

Cultural topics such as "Who you Are?" and Religion.

Duke (Mu) chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity honored with multiple awards!

Pictured are Duke Pi Kappa Phi members Micheal Washington and Ian McKiernan.  Congratulations to the entire Mu chapter!

Champion Master Chapter Award:
At their 54th Supreme Chapter, the Duke Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi was recognized as a Champion Master Chapter for overall excellence. The Champion Master Chapter Award distinguishes the top Pi Kappa Phi chapters in the country who achieved the highest composite score in the Seven Objectives of Chapter Excellence.

W.E. Edington Award:
The Duke chapter of Pi Kappa Phi also received the W.E. Edington award recognizing the chapter with the highest cumulative GPA. The award is given in honor of Pi Kappa Phi brother Edington (Illinois) who served as chairman of the national scholarship committee and played a pivotal role raising the fraternity men average GPA.

Commitment to Continued Growth Award:
The Mu Chapter was recognized with a Commitment to Continued Growth Award for meeting annual recruitment goals for a two-year period.

Retention Excellence Award:
The Mu Chapter was recognized with a Retention Excellence Award for a new member retention rate of 100%.


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Scholarship Cup Award Winner

Duke's (Alpha Alpha) chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was recently honored with their organization's Scholarship Cup.

This award is given to the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter with the highest cumulative GPA over the past school year.  Join us in congratulating the Alpha Alpha chapter on their achievement!  Pictured: Alpha Alpha chapter president, Matt Ostrowski.



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Flag of the Week - Lithuania

Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3 million as of 2013, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Lithuanians are a Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, and Latvian are the only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.

Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a full member of the Schengen Agreement and NATO. It is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, and part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries. The United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "very high human development" country. Lithuania has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union and is ranked 17th in the world in the Ease of Doing Business Index.


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To all new international students - From an alum

Welcome to a new and exciting life of being a blue devil. My name is Leonard Ng’eno and I am a software developer at Duke. Just like you, I once was a first year international student at Duke from Kenya. I too felt some of the feelings that you are currently going through: the excitement of starting college abroad, the fear of being in a new country and school, the prospect of meeting people from other cultures, the homesickness and the longing to be in the comfort of family members, among others. However, you should be happy in the knowledge that you have arrived at a place that will not only serve as a fountain of knowledge for the next four years of your life, but will also become your home away from home. The friendships and connections that you will make here will be a big part of your life from now onwards.

One of the hardest things you will have to deal with as a first year international student is not knowing what to do in certain circumstances. Each and everyone of you was good at something in your previous schools. Now you are in a different country with its own norms and an environment where everyone is as good as you. When faced with such as a situation, don’t think your world is coming to an end. You just have to work a little bit more to find your place in this new environment. This is where your residential assistant, academic advisor, people from the International House and other students from your country/region become very important. So talk to them and they’ll guide you on what to do. They too had to deal with the same situations as you.

As you begin your academic journey at Duke, you should always keep in mind that you are in one of the best universities in the US. You therefore have to take the most advantage of the opportunities that Duke avails to you. Duke has great professors and you should learn from them both in the classroom and outside. I know from experience that some of them might be very intimidating inside of the lecture hall, but once you actually get to know them outside of class, you’ll know that all that is for show. So don’t let the theatrics stop you from getting to know them if you have an interest in their areas of research. I come from a culture where the words of the teacher in the classroom is the law and the incontestable truth. If you also come from the same background as me, be assured that you are now in a school that encourages open discussions in the classroom and should therefore come out of your comfort zone and voice your thoughts.  

Duke has a lot of research programs, and getting involved in them will go a long way in shaping your future. Duke also has a wonderful liberal education system that you should take full advantage of. Like I once was, I am sure some of you have misgivings about taking courses in fields that are not related to your areas of study. You come from different education systems, but the fact that you chose to come to Duke means that you are willing to give a chance to the education system that exists here. So take those T-req courses with gusto, you might just find your calling in one of them. You are now studying abroad, but Duke also offers undergraduate students a chance to study in other countries for a semester. I know that this might not sound like a good idea, especially after going through the culture shock that some of you will experience during your first year here, but it is a chance worth exploring. At this stage in your life, you should be open to new opportunities and cultures.

Being a Duke student also means engaging with the community in which you live and the society at large. So join student groups that have interests in community engagement and go out into Durham. You will get a chance to learn about and experience the lives of common Americans, something that you might never get if you just stay within the Duke confines. Before I came here, I had my own thoughts of what America might be like. When I came to Duke, I saw a part of it. When I participated in Project Change, a service-oriented pre-orientation program, I got a chance to experience the side of America that is not defined by Duke. The families of your friends from Duke will also show you their version of America. So if you happen to be invited to their homes for thanksgiving or winter break, accept their invitation and tag along.  

Above all, I urge you to have fun and enjoy your experience here to the fullest. If you are a sports fan, then you have come to the right school. Duke has a phenomenal school spirit. I remember going for my F-1 visa interview at the American Consulate in Nairobi and the interviewer asked me about the basketball rivalry between Duke and UNC and I had no clue what he was talking about, let alone why he was so excited about it. As a freshman, I remember wondering why any sane person would camp out in K-ville in the middle of the winter just so they can get to go to one basketball game. But I eventually became a die-hard blue devil, and all that seemed crazy before now makes a lot of sense. However, if you are not a big sports fan, don’t feel left out, there are many other campus communities that you can join. They are all out there waiting for you to discover and be a part of them.

Part of what makes Duke unique is that the students are very passionate about the things that they care about. You are now part of that culture by virtue of having chosen to pursue your studies here. If you have a cause that you are really passionate about, now is your time to press for that cause. All the good things that currently exist at Duke did not just happen to come by, it is because previous students set the course for what they are now. Now is your chance to do the same. At some point, you will have to stop being a visitor and start feeling at home.

I wish you all the best as you begin your journey at Duke. Thank you.  



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Imam Adeel Zeb has been named Duke University's new Muslim chaplain and director for the Center for Muslim Life, beginning September 20.

He succeeds Imam Abdullah Antepli, who is taking on a new role with the university.

"I am thrilled to be able to make this important announcement," said Zoila Airall, associate vice president of campus life. "We have made significant strides in serving our growing Muslim student population over the past few years. I have great confidence that Adeel is the right person to continue this growth and serve our Muslim community."

Zeb said he is committed to building what he calls "interfaith, intrafaith and inter-university bridges" to create opportunities for productive dialogues. He has led interfaith immersion trips and spiritual retreats to Trinidad and Saudi Arabia, and hopes to continue such work with students and colleagues at Duke.

"The students at Duke exude ambition and seem ready to make authentic and positive change globally, starting of course locally here at Duke University," Zeb said. "The Duke community is full of energy, intelligence, and passion. These three components seem to be a common thread in the framework of this exemplary institution. With the current setup of three Muslims in distinct leadership positions across campus, Duke’s Muslim Life has the opportunity to be the gold standard in America, and that’s my hope and vision for the near future."

Zeb is coming to Duke from Trinity College and Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and prior to that served the Muslim community at American University. In those positions, he designed and delivered successful programming and outreach that met varied Muslim student needs. His academic research has focused on Jewish and Muslim chaplaincies on college campuses.

"Imam Zeb brings with him a unique combination of knowledge about Islam as well as skills in counseling and student development," said Li-Chen Chin, director of intercultural programs for Student Affairs at Duke. "His rich and diverse life experience -- for example, initially wanting to be pre-med as an undergraduate, then finding his calling after a visit to Mecca -- will serve as an inspiration to all students."

Zeb is a graduate of the Master’s in Islamic Chaplaincy program at Hartford Seminary. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Baylor University, and a bachelor’s of science degree in Islamic studies from Arees University. He has earned multiple certifications in interfaith conflict management, conflict analysis, and negotiation from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). He was the first Muslim Chaplain student at Children’s Medical Center’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program in Dallas.

Zeb has spoken at Islamic centers, universities, hospitals and Muslim conferences throughout the United States and has delivered Friday Khutbah prayer on Capitol Hill. He has published works in the Washington Post, and Temple University’s Journal for Ecumenical Studies.

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Alumni News

Duke Alum named West Virginia State Director for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.:

The Nu Omicron Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated is proud to announce that chapter member and Duke University alumna Kristeena Ray has been appointed to the position of West Virginia Sate Director. Ms. Ray has served the sisterhood well throughout her Zeta lifespan including active participation in the Nu Omicron chapter and NPHC while at Duke and as Secretary of the West Virginia Executive Board. There is no doubt that the State of West Virginia will continue to prosper under Ray’s leadership. Please join us in congratulating Ms. Ray in her new role as she continues to Build On the Principles of Zeta While Blazing New Paths.


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