“We were also there during the Shia holy month of Muharram and visited Karbala to see the festival of Ashura, where we saw people marching through a city half in ruins from the bombings of Saddam Hussein and Sunni extremist groups,” Keane said. “We saw remnants of a history dating back to the Bronze Era, and signs of the youth reconnecting with that history to break from the identity imposed by Saddam.” 

Keane said he learned a lot from his travels in Iraq and from the individuals he was teaching. He returned to ASU with a better understanding of how to effectively teach English to speakers of other languages, but he also discovered how English instruction can provide new opportunities for individuals in Iraq and other countries. 

“We were able to witness firsthand, both in the classroom and out, a country finally at an uneasy peace after decades of constant war,” he said. “We talked to many people who said there was no hope in their country, then visited a memorial for those who had had enough hope to give their lives fighting ISIS.”

Kimberly Koerth

Content Writer, School of International Letters and Cultures