$3 Million in Grants Will Support Latin America and Middle East Studies

Lori Harwood
June 23, 2003

Hundreds of University of Arizona students studying Latin America and the Middle East will benefit from $3 million in federal grants awarded recently to the University of Arizona.

The Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies will each receive $500,000 a year for three years from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the "Title VI" award. The grant will support teaching and research about these regions, intensive language studies, public lectures and other community activities

Ed Donnerstein, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, states, "I am very proud that our College includes the only two Title VI centers at the University. Their work promotes the understanding of other nations' history, culture, and political and economic systems at a time when such knowledge is crucial."

Center for Latin American Studies

The UA Center for Latin American Studies is part of a UA-ASU consortium that boasts one of the nation's largest groups of experts on Latin America, with more than 250 faculty who teach or conduct research on Latin America. The UA produces hundreds of students each year who are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, knowledgeable about Latin American culture, history and politics, and prepared for careers that span the Americas.

The grant will support the following activities:

  • graduate student language fellowships to study Portuguese and indigenous languages such as Andean Quichua

  • major conferences on the legacy of the Gadsen purchase, Central America, women in Latin America, and Mexican film

  • workshops and fieldtrips for Arizona K-12 teachers

  • business briefings on Latin America organized with the UA Office of Economic Development

  • the hiring of faculty to teach Brazil, international journalism, Latin American media studies and Latin American economy

Diana Liverman, director of the Center for Latin American Studies, was delighted with the news. "This grant recognizes the national significance of UA commitment to understanding Latin America, especially Mexico and Brazil, and provides resources to offer even more courses as well as outreach programs for teachers and local businesses. The grant will provide almost 50 fellowships for studying Portuguese and indigenous languages over the next three years. A better understanding of Latin America is important to the economic development and security of the state of Arizona, to our many students of Latin American heritage and to political relations with Mexico and other countries of the region."

Center for Middle Eastern Studies

The UA Center for Middle East Studies provides instruction in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish languages and outreach programs that include public briefings on contemporary politics and culture in the Middle East. Last year, hundreds of university and community members attended lectures and panel discussions organized by the Center about the conflict in Iraq.
The grant will support the following activities:

  • graduate student language fellowships for academic year and intensive summer study of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish

  • regional conferences on Middle East and Islamic Studies

  • symposia on environmental studies and on area studies librarianship

  • a contribution toward the 2005 Association for Israel Studies conference to be held in Tucson

  • workshops and materials for K-12 teachers

  • public forums on current Middle East issues

  • cultural events

  • the hiring of faculty to teach "Business Environment in the Middle East and North Africa," Islamic studies, contemporary Turkish studies, and international journalism.

Anne H. Betteridge, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies says, "Success in the grant competition affirms the outstanding quality of the UA's Middle East Studies faculty, curriculum, resources and outreach activities. The grant will fund some 60 fellowships for graduate students who study Middle Eastern languages, allow the university to enhance its now strong programs and encourage understanding of a vitally important region. The nation's schools, businesses, media, non-governmental organizations and government are in dire need of professionals with deep knowledge of the area and facility in Middle Eastern languages. The UA will play a crucial part in the education of students qualified to assume such roles."


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