Egypt study among new Middle East programs offered

Fresno State will soon be expanding its foreign-based academic curriculum in the near future with the Middle East Studies (MES) Project.

A proposal will be presented at the beginning of next year, said Jóse Díaz, the assoicate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

The proposal will include the organization of the program as well as the classes that will be offered.

“We don’t want to have to hire new faculty if we don’t know if the program will work or not,” Díaz said.

The project would improve the instruction of international studies and foreign languages at Fresno State.

There will be a minor available in Middle East Studies, which students would need 21 units to complete. Two years will be needed in a foreign language, either Persian or Arabic.

The MES Project will offer students the chance to study abroad in Cairo, Egypt. Students will have the chance to learn about art, people, architecture, music and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. The program will be a seven-week learning experience during the summer.

Students who choose to study abroad should at least have a basic knowledge of the language spoken before they go to Cairo, Díaz said.

“The study abroad program is short due to the cost,” Díaz said.

The new program is being funded for two years by a $180,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Díaz said. The grant was given to the College of Arts and Humanities.

Díaz said there is no expectation the univeristy will contribute funds to the project.

Fresno State already offers seven courses that will be counted toward a minor in Middle East Studies.

These courses include English 250, Asian Literature and Western Orientalism, Social Science 150, Islamic Civilization and Women in Islam.

Díaz is hoping that the program will be popular among students.

With the Middle Eastern culture growing in the San Joaquin Valley, this program will allow students a better insight of the Arabic and Persian cultures.

Click here for more information about the summer study abroad program in Egypt or other aspects of the MES Project.

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