Professor Profile: Abdulaziz Al-Zokeir

Today’s media has an incredible amount of influence on today’s viewers, especially college-age students and their perceptions of the Middle East.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Zokeir was born in Iraq and raised in Kuwait. His father was Saudi and his mother Kuwaiti. Growing up immersed in diverse Middle Eastern cultures has allowed him to form his own opinions about each individual culture.

Although he was born in the Middle East, Al-Zokeir graduated from Michigan State University in 1986 with a master’s degree in geography.

After moving back to Saudi Arabia, he got married, had children and ended up teaching at King Saud University from 1988-1998.

After his years as an assistant professor at King Saud, he was granted a scholarship to go wherever he wanted to continue his educational career.

Al-Zokeir graduated from Exeter University in England in 2003 with his Ph.D., and moved to America the next year.

Only a year after returning to America, he began teaching regional geography at Oakland Community College. Since 2004, he has been teaching geography and international studies courses at Oakland University and Macomb Community College.

Al-Zokeir hopes that his experiences in the Middle East can teach students about the realities of the region, not just what is reported in the media.

“What I hope that students will get (from the classes) is actually the fact that they do not know anything about the Middle East -— the people, the culture, how the people think and what they think about American people,” Al-Zokeir said.

When he isn’t teaching, he likes to continue learning about other cultures and their defining aspects. His favorite kinds of books are ones about foreign cultures, politics and their history.

This semester, Al-Zokeir is teaching IS 200, which is global human systems and IS 270, introduction to the Middle East.