Greetings from AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World! Thank you for being a part of AMIDEAST’s larger mission to help develop mutual understanding between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa! We hope the information provided here helps you stay connected to AMIDEAST. This issue of the Alumni newsletter includes the following sections:
• Letter from the Director • Education Abroad Updates • Alumni Resources • Mosaic: A Collaborative Student Blog • Featured Book • Fall 2013 Photo Contest
Spring 2012 Area & Arabic Language Studies in Egypt students on an excursion outside of Cairo
We hope you have joyful fall season, where ever in the world this newsletter finds you!
FROM THE DIRECTOR
It has been a very busy fall for those of us working with AMIDEAST’s Education Abroad Programs – both those of us at Headquarters in Washington and our staff in Amman and Rabat, not to mention Muscat, where intensive efforts are underway to prepare for our new Oman program in the spring. This fall, headquarters staff has traveled to 65 colleges and universities all over the U.S. to participate in study abroad fairs and meet with faculty teaching Arabic and Middle East studies. Our efforts also are di¬rected to boosting enrollment in the Regional Studies in French program in Morocco, now in its second year. The relationship with you, our alumni is just as important as ever. A major task this fall is preparing to launch our new academic year program in Muscat, Oman in January. We’ve been providing programs in Oman for high school students since 2009 and we are excited to be able to open up this exciting location to our undergraduate students. I recently returned from a week in Muscat interviewing potential faculty to offer area studies courses and meeting with the staff members we already have in place (Arabic Coordinator, Program Manager, and Housing Coordinator). These staff members are extremely well prepared to serve the students who will begin to descend on them in just a few more weeks! At the same time as we prepare for a new program in Oman, our existing programs in Amman and Rabat are enjoying record enrollment this fall – 45 students in Amman and 36 in Rabat. This past summer, the Amman program moved from the top floor of the building to new and larger space on the ground floor. Hala and her staff continue to make improvements to the program in many ways. In Rabat we have a new Arabic Coordinator, Mohammed Gallab, who has been teaching with AMIDEAST since 2011. The most exciting development for our fall program is the substitution of an excursion to a village in the Middle Atlas near Beni Mellal for the Marrakesh excursion. Students made very enthusiastic reports about the visit to this village (Zawiyat Ahansal) and we expect to make that excursion a permanent feature of the program. As you can see, with a new program, reaching out to new potential students, and new developments at each of our existing program sites; there is a lot of change taking place in AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs in the Arab World. I would be remiss, however, not to mention another less positive change. As you can imagine, with the events this past summer in Egypt, we had to evacuate the 27 students who were there in our Intensive Arabic and Learn & Serve programs. The vast majority of the students relocated to Amman, where they were able to complete the second four-week intensive summer Arabic session. Howev¬er, with the on-going violence in Cairo showing no signs of abating, we have cancelled our fall and spring programs. Unfortunately, we do not expect to be able to offer programs there next summer either. After four years offering opportunities for students to study in “Um ad-Dunya” (as Cairenes like to call their city), we are sad not to be able to do so for the foreseeable future. We hope that our programs have opened doors for all of you. This newsletter and the resources in it are an¬other way of continuing to do so. I love hearing from all of you and those of us at Headquarters are happy to meet with any alumni who are in DC and interested in informational interviews. Wa salaam, Jerome B. Bookin-Weiner, PhD Director of Education Abroad
AMIDEAST Alumni Newsletter
As AMIDEAST Education Abroad continues to grow and change, we want to keep you updated with the most recent developments. EDUCATION ABROAD LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAMS IN OMAN! AMIDEAST is excited to announce two new programs based in Muscat, Oman! Our Oman Area & Arabic Language Studies (semester) and Intensive Arabic (summer) programs will be launched in 2014. Situated along a natural harbor on the northern coast of Oman, Muscat has been an important trading post for much of its history. AMIDEAST students in Oman will experience this cultural legacy first-hand as they wander between Muscat’s pristine white-walled buildings or through its busy souks, marvel at its beautiful mosques or watch fishermen pull in their daily haul from along greater Muscat’s extended coastline. The colloquial Arabic in Oman is closely related to Modern Standard Arabicand the country’s diverse population promotes unique cultural traditions and language intricacies. Those interested in Islamic studies can observe the slightly different practices of Ibadi Islam that is particular to the country. Off the beaten path, Oman strives to blend culture and tradition with modernity that must be seen and experienced to be truly appreciated.
National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Students with their Resident Coordinator in Oman, 2013
CRITICAL LANGUAGE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS 2013 was AMIDEAST’s first summer operating the Critical Language Scholarships Program (CLS) sites in three locations – Amman, Jordan; Nizwa, Oman; and Rabat, Morocco. The CLS programs are funded by the U.S. Department of State and in we are a subcontractor to American Councils for International Education. We served a total of 84 students in these programs. Our in-country staff administered these programs with great care and skill and we look forward to working with American Councils to prepare for next summer’s cohort. AMIDEAST PROMOTIONAL TOUR 2013 Throughout the fall 2013 semester, the AMIDEAST Education Abroad team has been traveling throughout the United States visiting numerous university and college campuses. Reaching out to prospective students, study abroad professionals, and program alumni during these visits, we have been excitedly sharing updates on AMIDEAST opportunities for study in the Middle East and North Africa. As with 2012, we hope to visit as many as 65 institutions of higher education this fall! If you think students at your institution would be interested in learning more about AMIDEAST programs, please feel free to let us know! We will coordinate our schedules to try to visit your university during our fall 2014 touring season.
AMIDEAST Education Abroad staff both in Washington, DC and our field office constantly watches for educational and professional opportunities for AMIDEAST alumni. We hope you will explore these resources in more depth on the Alumni Association Website. ARABIC RESOURCES On our alumni website, we provide a number of language resources to prevent your Arabic from getting rusty following your program. This issue, our featured Arabic resource is: The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s Legends and Folktales. By selecting a country you’re interested in, you can listen to a folk tale told in the selected country’s regional tongue. Stories from throughout the Middle East and North Africa include tales from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. You can listen to each story in English also, which can help to determine how much you’ve comprehended in a listen-through. We hope you will utilize the Alumni Association website to explore other Arabic language practice resources. We’ve provided links to MSA texts, blogs, music, vocabulary practice resources, and useful YouTube videos.
AMIDEAST Alumni Newsletter
We love receiving student and alumni submissions for Mosaic, our ongoing collaborative student blog. Feel free to submit an article, blog entry, photos, or creative writing on your program abroad to DocsEdAbroad@amideast.org. Below is a recent post from Education Abroad’s Summer 2013 Morocco Intensive Arabic student Rockia Coulibaly.
“ On one of my very last days in Morocco, my host family thought it would be a great idea for my roommate and me to try on some of the traditional Moroccan clothing. We tried on both takchitas and caftans (two pieces of traditional Moroccan clothing). The one I am wearing in this photo is called a takchita, and these dresses are normally worn during weddings and baby showers. The takchita in this photo was actually the takchita that my host sister wore for her wedding. The takchita comes with a belt or mdamma as said in the Moroccan dialect, Darija. The dress is also worn with beautiful jewelry which matches the color and style of the dress. In addition, women also get henna done on their hands and feet for these special occasions. When first arriving to Morocco, I was engaged in a lot of conversations with many different people. One of the first questions that I always asked was “what are some of the traditions here in Morocco?” Many people were excited to tell me about couscous for lunch on Fridays! This picture illustrates the first Friday that I had couscous with my host family. The couscous is normally served in a very large dish, and each person is given a bowl of the broth in case the area of which they’re eating becomes dry. The couscous is not accompanied by the Mint tea, as most meals would be. Instead, one drinks a kind of thick milk, similar to sour cream. Although my roommate and I would end classes at 3pm, our host family would always wait in order for us all to enjoy the couscous together, which made it even more special.…”
IN THE TIME OF OIL by Mandana Limbert
Recommended by Lauren Kardos, Program Assistant Several years ago, at the start of my first Cultural Anthropology of the Middle East class, I quickly scanned the required reading list on syllabus day. In the Time of Oil by Mandana Limbert immediately jumped out at me. A book focused on developments in Oman since the discovery of oil in the mid-20th century it made me realize I knew next to nothing about this southern Gulf country. Why had I never really considered learning about Oman before? What dialect of Arabic did Omanis speak? What was Muscat like, and, as an avid foodie-traveler, what were their main national dishes? Needless to say I devoured this ethnography long before it was required and since that time Oman has been at the top of my list of places to travel to in the Arab world. As a wannabe anthropologist, absorbing the details of Omani culture fascinated me. Prior to Sultan Qaboos’s ascension to power in 1970, Oman was largely closed off from the outside world. In the middle of the 20th century, Oman had only a few paved roads, one hospital, and no formalized education system. This limited development was surprising given that Oman was, at one time, a regional powerhouse. With Muscat as a major trading port throughout its history, Oman was one of the only countries in the Arab world to never have been placed under direct European control. In fact, Oman colonized large portions of East Africa from the late 18th century to late 19th century and East African culture and language continues to be part of Omani society today. The author of In the Time of Oil lived in Bahla, a small town in Oman’s alDakhiliya(interior) region for several years in the mid-1990’s. Her book discusses the changes in Ibadi Islamic practice, higher education, and consumption of goods since the country’s rapid development resulting from the discovery of oil and Sultan Qaboos’s intensive oil-fueled development efforts. At the end of her book, Limbert concludes that contemporary Omani’s live in a “dream time” of oil, or a sort of liminal mindset where the country’s oil wealth and rapid development seem only temporary. Because of this, Omanis hold tightly to their traditions and heritage. In other words, they are adapting to development in ways that are unique in the Arab world.
AMIDEAST Alumni Newsletter
FALL 2013 PHOTO CONTEST
Voting for our Fall 2013 Photo Contest semi-finalists is now under way! Be sure to visit our Study Abroad in the Arab World Facebook page to cast your vote. After voting ends on November 11, 2013, we will begin accepting submissions for the Spring 2014 Photo Contest. Check the Guidelines and Submission Details and start sending photos to us. The winning photo will be awarded a Visa gift card, be framed in our Washington D.C. office, and used in the AMIDEAST 2014-15 promotional materials and Facebook page. Take a look at our past winners:
Rahwa Hassen, Summer 2012 Tunisia Learn & Serve Alum
Sam Hobert, Spring 2013 Area & Arabic Language Studies in Egypt Alum
As always, we enjoy hearing where life has taken AMIDEAST alumni! Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any suggestions for the Alumni Association, or just to update us on your current successes. Best regards, Jerry Bookin-Weiner, Cara Lane-Toomey, Shino Yoshen, Lauren Kardos, Liz Rauh, Mack Harris, Hussien Salama, and Julie Fisher The AMIDEAST Education Abroad Team
CONTACT US AMIDEAST Education Abroad 1730 M St., NW Suite 1100 EdAbroad@amideast.org Washington, DC 20036