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Global Educator Award winner has built a career on opening the world to Northeastern students

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Denis Sullivan, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs poses for a portrait on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The first time Denis Sullivan stepped out of a plane in Cairo about 40 years ago, a sweet and pungent smell attacked his nostrils. The smell wasn’t particularly pleasant, Sullivan says, and the world around him had turned black-and-white, or dusty yellow to be exact. “I was a Midwestern kid who had never left the United States,” says Sullivan, professor of political science and international affairs at Northeastern University. “I had that ‘Oh my God, we’re not in America anymore’ moment.” Everything fascinated him in this ancient, sandy city. On his very first evening in Cairo, Sullivan, who came to Egypt on a scholarship from the U.S. Department of Education to study Arabic, and two of his colleagues went to Tahrir Square. Three young Egyptian men approached them, hearing the foreigners talk in English, and one of them said, “Welcome to Cairo.”

“With his arms spread out,” Sullivan says. “The very first person that actually interacted with me was such a welcoming, smiling, warmhearted person.” They became fast friends for life, he says.

Read more at Northeastern Global News.

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