Cultural anthropologist Aomar Boum has always believed in the power of scholarship and historical storytelling to spread not only knowledge but tolerance, empathy and a sense of shared humanity.

And he’s been telling a lot of stories lately. His new graphic novel, “Undesirables: A Holocaust Journey to North Africa,” illustrated by Algerian cartoonist Nadjib Berber and published this week, follows last summer’s “Wartime North Africa: A Documentary History, 1934–1950,” a volume he co-edited with Sarah Abrevaya Stein, director of the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.

Boum and Stein, who co-direct the Leve Center’s Moroccan Jewish studies program, will present a talk on “Wartime North Africa,”  Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Royce Hall.

A Muslim who grew up in rural southeastern Morocco, Boum has spent his academic career researching and writing about the history of Jews and Jewish–Muslim relations in Morocco and North Africa. Last November, he was honored for his contributions to Jewish–Muslim understanding by the Sephardic Em Habanim synagogue in Los Angeles at an event attended by more than 400 people, including a California assemblymember.

Boum, who holds UCLA’s Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies, said he sees his ongoing scholarship — and the graphic novel “Undesirables” in particular, which tells the story of a Jewish journalist interned in a World War II-era Moroccan camp run by the fascist Vichy government — as way to help people understand and empathize with stories of “the other,” be they Jews in Morocco, Holocaust survivors, or contemporary migrants and refugees.

“Education is really liberating — it opens up your view of the world,” he said. “And the empathy you develop is central.”

Read more about Aomar Boum and “Undesirables” on the UCLA International Institute website.