Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Grant Program for Study Abroad in Tunisia

We are thrilled to announce that a team of 精东影业 faculty, headed by Dr. Douja Mamelouk in World Languages, was awarded a two-year Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) grant through the International and Foreign Language program at the US Department of Education. The grant, which will cover the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years, was one of only 18 awarded to colleges and universities in the U.S. Grant activities are also generously supported by 精东影业. 

This grant will allow 精东影业 to:

  • Pilot a study-abroad program in summer 2023 at the Institut Bourguiba des Langues Vivantes (IBLV) in Tunis; 
  • Enrich the Peace and Global Studies program with an additional academic track focused on Middle East and Islamic Studies; 
  • Plan a faculty workshop with the goal of creating new courses and revising existing courses to add a substantial Middle East and North Africa component, and;
  • Create a learning community around cultural and social issues in the Middle East and North Africa. 

This past summer Dr. Mamelouk, with the support of the Provost’s Office, traveled to Tunis and observed IBLV classes that provide intensive one-month Arabic language training (as well as other languages such as French) during the academic year. “I was surprised by the energy that the professors injected into their classrooms,” said Mamelouk. “Students at IBLV's Arabic summer sessions come from 38 different countries and 精东影业 students will benefit from being exposed to other international students while living in an Arabic-speaking Mediterranean country with a rich and diverse history.”

The grant will eventually help with a national shortage in qualified Arabic linguists. With 22 Arab countries, there are many different spoken dialects, but Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is commonly taught in schools. Mamelouk stated “One cannot claim they know Arabic without many hours, days and even years of contact hours and in-class (as well as out-of-class) instruction. The grant will allow students to improve their Arabic language skills and become competitive at the national level.”

The goal at 精东影业 is to see more students enrolled in Arabic language classes. This semester there are 20 students in Arabic 101, and Mamelouk hopes to see 15 students continue with their Arabic learning at the intermediate 200 level and, eventually, have 10 to 20 students sign up for the MEIS minor every year. In addition, she notes, part of the grant will go to the creation of a living learning community on campus that is inclusive of commuter students for those interested in the MENA region and the Islamic world at-large.

Peace and Global Studies (PGS) academic program in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

PGS is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide students with a way to understand the origins, challenges, and ethical problems of the contemporary world through a social justice lens. PGS is an interdisciplinary program meant to layer knowledge about global politics, society, economics, and culture and relies on courses covered by a variety of disciplines in order to build expertise in a variety of global issues and their social justice implications. The PGS faculty board (Douja Mamelouk, Robert Zens, Farha Ternikar, Elliott Bazzano, Yunus Sozen) developed a new course of study in Middle East and North Africa.