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New Arabic professor shares story of survival


By Sean Mason

Mona Rowan may teach Arabic at Stonehill now, but the path that got her here includes a near-fatal war wound and search for the best medical care in the world.

Rowan came to the United States from her home country of Lebanon in 1977. During her freshman year at American University in Lebanon, Rowan was shot in the face by a stray bullet after being caught in the crossfire during the Lebanese Civil War.

“The conflict was between the Muslims and Christians. I got shot in the face. I was a Christian and the Muslims didn’t like the Christians,” Rowan said.

Rowan came to Boston after receiving advice from her professor at American University.

“Boston had the best doctors, so my professor suggested I go there, and New England had some of the best schools in the country. I had family living here as well,” Rowan said.

Rowan underwent multiple surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital to repair her face.

While in New England, Rowan lived in Rhode Island and attended the University Of Rhode Island. After college, she taught high school Spanish and French, before deciding she wanted to become a college professor.

She went back to school and earned two master’s degrees in Education and Linguistic Studies from the University Of Rhode Island.

Rowan is fluent is four languages: English, Spanish, French and Arabic. She now teaches Arabic at both Stonehill College and Wheaton College.

“Just this year, we merged our Arabic program with Wheaton College. I teach three different levels,” Rowan said.

Arabic saw a large increase in popularity this year, so Stonehill is working on making it available as a minor to students, Rowan said.

“For the first time we reached capacity in our Arabic classes. We had students on the wait-ing list and actually had to turn them away. It is becoming very popular. [The Arabic Language] along with Chinese are the two most popular languages to learn in the world,” Rowan said.

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