June 8, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 18

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    Area centers get $4.9 million boost

    By William Harms
    News Office

    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:

    • The Center for East Asian Studies will receive $102,000 for the first year for FLAS fellowships and $185,000 in NRC funding for the first year. The NRC funds will assist in preparation of new courses, expand the Korean studies program, provide for continued training of Chinese language teachers and expand outreach activities.

    • The Center for Eastern European and Russian/Eurasian Studies will receive $171,000 for the first year in FLAS funding and $173,189 in the first year in NRC support. The center intends to use the NRC support to add instruction in Uzbek, in cooperation with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Serbian/Croatian languages; and Polish history. The center also plans to arrange a conference on the global impact of the U.S.S.R. between 1945 and 1991.

    • The Center for Latin American Studies is a joint program with the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. It will receive $300,000 in the first year in FLAS funds and $210,00 for the first year in NRC funding. The NRC funding will support workshops, colloquia, conferences, invited lectures and a comprehensive outreach program, particularly in secondary and postsecondary teacher training.

    • The Center for Middle Eastern Studies will receive $171,000 in FLAS support for the first-year period and $190,000 in NRC funding for the first year. The NRC support will provide for programmatic activities, including workshops, conferences and other events, as well as public education initiatives for K-12 and postsecondary institutions, business and the media.

    • The South Asia Language and Area Center will receive $177,000 in FLAS support for the first year and $200,000 in the first year in NRC funds. It will use the NRC funding to help initiate a new undergraduate study abroad program in India; create a new language resource on the Internet; initiate faculty positions in literature, Tibetan language and art history; sponsor three seminars on human rights; and help provide for training of faculty from other institutions at the college level.

    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.