Malaysian Scholar Sanen G. Marshall to Speak on Statelessness

Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence brings global perspective to Marylhurst campus.

 Marylhurst University’s visiting Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Sanen G. Marshall, will give a free talk titled Sea Gypsies in the Age of Hard Borders & Operations Against Illegal Immigrants on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in The Old Library, BP John Administration Bldg. Dr. Marshall will discuss a case study looking at his home state of Sabah, Malaysia, exploring security challenges posed by illegal immigrants in the aftermath of a 2013 armed intrusion by a vigilante group from neighboring Philippines, and its implications for stateless “Sea Gypsies” – individuals from a distinct ethnic group largely bereft of the legal right to belong in any country. This talk is the first in the 2017-18 Marylhurst Speaker Series. Details at: events.marylhurst.edu

During his three-month stay at Marylhurst University, Dr. Marshall is also teaching Globalization as part of the fall course offerings in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Applied Liberal Arts. Students enrolled in this course will be treated to Dr. Marshall’s unique perspective and research on the condition of statelessness.
Dr. Marshall is a political scientist and senior lecturer at University Malaysia Sabah, located in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. University Malaysia Sabah is highly respected in the fields of marine research, biotechnology research, and tropical biology and conservation. Dr. Marshall teaches in the university’s Center for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning -- “essentially the Liberal Arts Center,” he said.

The purpose of the Fulbright Program is to encourage cultural and academic exchanges, with both universities and their communities benefiting. How Marylhurst runs its liberal arts program and department is just one learning that Dr. Marshall hopes to bring back to his colleagues in Sabah. He finds it an interesting time to be in Portland, he said, especially because Portland is a Sanctuary City. He also hopes to learn from the city’s current struggle to provide sufficient affordable housing and shelter. Dr. Marshall expects to share with his fellow citizens back home his observations of “how serious the homeless situation is here.”

This type of cultural and academic exchange is not new for Marylhurst University. The university has been serving primarily an adult student population since the mid-1970s, when Marylhurst became one of the nation’s first “colleges of lifelong learning,” as it was known at the time. Sr. Veronica Ann Baxter, then Marylhurst University’s president, traveled to Scandinavia to observe a college operating under the lifelong learning model, bringing back the knowledge of how to successfully implement what was, at that time, a highly innovative approach to higher education.

Today, Marylhurst University is undergoing a similar shift with a renewed vision. In addition to being a beacon of academic excellence that serves each student, Marylhurst is evolving into a thriving hub for cultural, artistic and professional enrichment serving alumni, students, and the surrounding community. Read more: marylhurst.edu/about/mission-and-values 



 Sanen G. Marshall, Ph.D. is a (North) Borneo or Sabah specialist, having spent years studying the cultures and languages of the ethnic groups there. He has presented papers in a number of UNCHR meetings on the issue of the stateless of the Sea Gypsies, including in the First Global Forum on Statelessness in 2014. Dr. Marshall was the convener of the 2015 Forum on Heritage Language Education for Early Childhood, hosted in collaboration with local and international sponsors. Dr. Marshall is primarily interested in researching how small communities are able to mobilize to secure their rights in contemporary society.

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. Over 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, the arts and other fields.


Founded in 1893, Marylhurst University is a premier, not-for-profit, professionally focused liberal arts and business university. Our community of scholars, professionals and artists offers exceptional master’s degrees, bachelor’s degree completion programs, courses, continuing education and impressive arts, music and cultural events.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Get our original content straight to your inbox.
Enter your email below to sign up for our weekly enewsletter