Area centers get $4.9 million boostBy William Harms
The University has received nearly $4.9 million to enhance its teaching and research of global issues through the work of its five area centers.
The funds, from the U.S. Department of Education, will be used over a three-year period to support graduate student foreign language and area study, provide for conferences, fund outreach efforts, provide for travel, and finance other opportunities to support area and international studies at the University.
For the first time ever, the University has received support from the Department of Education for all five area centers and for fellowships in all five fields, said Rashid Khalidi, Professor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and Director of the Center for International Studies. This means that our students will be eligible for 31 academic-year and 17 summer-Title VI fellowships in the five fields annually over the next few years, and we will receive support for language teaching, outreach and other center programs.
This constitutes a resounding vote of confidence in the strong program we have in these areas and in the coordinated efforts of many faculty and administrators to strengthen international studies at the University.
The University has five area centers that provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary work related to major regions in the world: East Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia/Eurasia, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia. In addition to faculty from the Humanities and Social Sciences divisions, faculty from the professional schools also are members of the area centers.
As a result of their work in courses and programs coordinated by the area centers, University graduates are prepared to take faculty positions at universities and colleges and also work for business, government, the media and international organizations, Khalidi said.
The federal funds are of two distinct types: Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships and National Resource Center grants.
The FLAS fellowships, which will fund graduate student fellowships, also will allow students to study in summer language programs on or off campus.
The National Resource Center grants will support the programs of the centers and provide funds for library acquisitions.
The annually renewable funding levels and activities planned for the next three years include:
In addition to the federal grant, the work of the area centers receives support from the University in a variety of ways. In a typical year, the University provides $28 million, which goes primarily to faculty and staff salaries and benefits, graduate-student support and the University Library‚s area studies collections.