Professor Ortega Brings Soccer Conference to Simmons

May 03, 2016

Stephen Ortega

We caught up with Professor Steve Ortega about the "Soccer as a Global Phenomenon" conference!

What do you teach at Simmons?

I teach in the history department. As a world and Mediterranean historian, I teach a range of courses from Global Environmental History to 9/11 to an honors course on the TV program, Breaking Bad.

What made you make the move to teach at Simmons?

My major reason to come to Simmons was the opportunity to teach at a wonderful liberal arts college in Boston.

What's your favorite class to teach?

Cross-Cultural Encounters. The class breaks down the barriers between East and West.

Fill in the blank: When I was in college I ___

really wanted to learn about the Middle East.

Fill in the blank: When I'm not teaching I'm ___

coaching soccer, hiking, watching FC Barcelona and trying to write as much as I can.

Do you have a hidden talent?

Unfortunately, I think that it is still hidden.

What's your favorite quote?

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conservation.” — Plato.

Tell us about the "Soccer as a Global Phenomenon" conference.

“Soccer as a Global Phenomenon,” which took place at Harvard, brought together 25 scholars from all over the world. Subjects included fans and love, magic and soccer in Nigeria, the unofficial soccer pitches of Beirut. The conference was one the largest academic soccer conferences to date.

What made you get involved with this conference? How did it benefit students?

I am huge fan of soccer and have worked closely in the past with the principal conference organizer, Cemal Kafadar. We wanted the conference to be a truly global event, which it turned out to be. The first night of the conference took place at Simmons, where we screened the film, “New Generation Queens: A Zanzibar Soccer Story.” A number of Simmons students attended the film and we had a wonderful panel discussion afterwards. Simmons students also attended panel discussions and one of the dinner events. Professor Daren Graves and I taped a series of interviews with conference panelists, which will be aired on Simmons Radio.

What was the best part of the conference?

The pick-up game afterwards — not really, though it was a lot of fun and a 10-year-old scored the winning goal. The exchange of ideas between people from all around the world.

What's your Simmons Moment?

I would not say it is one moment, I think Simmons is an important place to me because of the daily exchange with students.

Photo taken at the conference;  Professor Steve Ortega (middle) Christian Karembeu (left), adviser to the Greek Soccer club Olympiakos, former player for Real Madrid and for the 1998 World Cup winning French National team. Thedoros Giannikos (right), Vice-President of the Greek club Olmpiakos and executive board member of the European Football Club Association.