Mahmud Leaving Transy

by Elizabeth Davis

After 11 years of teaching political science here at Transylvania, Dr. Sakah Mahmud will be leaving to set up the political science department at Kwara State University in Malete, Nigeria.

“It happened in a strange way,” Mahmud said, referring to the way in which he was recruited. “The new president (of Kwara State) asked me for credentials and then asked me to come down. I thought it was a joke.”

Mahmud’s courses at Transylvania have included Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, Politics of the Middle East, Politics and Society of Japan, Globalization and Civic Responsibilities, Modern Political Concepts and the Model United Nations. He has won numerous awards, including Transylvania’s Faculty Member of the Year and a Rockefeller Visiting Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame.

So what will Mahmud miss about Transy?

“The small classes and intimate setting,” Mahmud said. “And also the financial support for my research. The university has been very generous over the years.” He further enthused that Transy has “a close-knit community. The president and deans are available so easily. There is a great support staff.”
Mahmud began his teaching career here as a professor of African studies.

“I always wanted to become a teacher,” he recounted. “I wanted to travel around the world and have others understand from my experience. It has always been my passion to give knowledge to other people.”

Mahmud’s family will stay in Kentucky while he pursues this new path in his career. His wife, Lori Hartmaan Mahmud, teaches political science and women’s studies at Centre College, while his son, Malik, attends a middle school close to Transy.

While he will miss his friends and colleagues at Transy and the enjoyable scenery of Kentucky, Mahmud is looking forward to many aspects of Nigeria.

“There is a feeling of community there that is often lost here,” he said. “There are always people around. And I have colleagues from high school, familiar faces and old friends.”

He continued, “The new university will give me a chance to give back to the community. There is a lot of ‘brain drain’ from Nigeria to the western world.”

To accommodate the change, the political science department will offer Dictatorship in Latin America to replace one of Mahmud’s courses. In addition, Politics of the Middle East will be taught by visiting Associate Professor of Political Science Michael Cairo.


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