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Middle Eastern Studies Program to award student grants

Submitted by Ian Bennett on October 3, 2012 – 6:56 pmNo Comment

UALR’s Middle Eastern Studies Program will be awarding up to $3,000 to qualified students who apply for grants to support activities and scholarships in the program.

“The Middle Eastern Studies Program continues to grow each year since it was first established about four years ago,” said Clea Bunch, associate professor of history.  “Middle Eastern studies is offered as a minor study, and is geared toward educating students of UALR, and even the state of Arkansas, of the Middle Eastern and Islamic region.“

Bunch has written books about historic events in the region and teaches several classes on U.S.-Middle East relations.

“It’s an important part of the world, also it’s important to know about it because of foreign policy; the various conflicts we’ve had in the area, emerging new democracies in the area, of course that are in the news right now, and in general, its apart of the world that is of concern to the United States,” Bunch said. “But in addition to that the Middle East has a very rich heritage that is a part of our own.”

She attributes the success of the program to students’ interests, and those who take classes, because they want to know more about the area of the world we see so much on the news, usually will be engaged and continue the minor.

There are also opportunities to study abroad with the program, which the grants provided by the Middle Eastern Studies Committee could help to fund.  Usually students travel to various parts of the Middle East including (Egypt, Israel and Jordan)and are allowed to devise their own program, after it is approved.

“It’s a region that has such a complexity to its culture and I found it fascinating,” Bunch said, “and I want the students in our program to do the same thing, to really investigate beyond just sort of the surface, things they might see in the media, and really look at the fuller picture of what’s there.”

Students from all academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply for the grants, and to be creative about what the grants could potentially fund for them in their academic projects.

“We’re interested in their future,” Bunch said. “We’re interested in their commitment to this field and how it would enhance their academic career and then their future employment.”

The website for the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations has a set of programs that students might consider for their grant applications. UALR’s website also lists proposals that include:  historical research in archives in the U.S. or abroad; being a part of a biological or geological field project in the Middle East; or conducting a cultural anthropological project in a Middle Eastern culture and more.  Students are also encouraged to check the programs at the King Fahd Center at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Those who are interested in the Middle Eastern Studies Program are encouraged to view details at ualr.edu.  Anyone interested in applying must submit a detailed letter of application, resume, preliminary itemized budget with the amount of money requested, and at least two letters of recommendation, to Rebecca Glazier in the department of political science.

In the letter, describe how your activities would benefit your area of study, scholarship and career, and how you could use the grant to contribute to the advancement of UALR’s Middle Eastern Studies program. The deadline for student grant applications is Nov. 1.

 

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