Center for Contemporary Arab Studies - Center for Contemporary Arab Studies | Georgetown University

Center for Contemporary Arab Studies

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University directs the nation’s only Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program. Our rigorous Arabic language training and multidisciplinary approach draw on the expertise of an academically diverse faculty. CCAS also hosts a rich calendar of public events, a Department of Education Title VI-supported outreach program for K-14 educators, and a growing multimedia and publications program.

CCAS News:

An American Teacher in Saudi Arabia

An American Teacher in Saudi Arabia

It could easily have been mistaken for a scene from A Thousand and One Arabian Nights: woven carpets spread under the open night sky with a crescent moon setting on the late night horizon of the Red Sea; warm breezes blending sweetly with soft waves on the beach; traditional musicians and dancers in baggy trousers, embroidered doublets, and tasseled turbans—performers still faithful to the culture of their Hejazi forefathers; and servants offering cardamom-infused coffee and moist dates, while the sweet-scented “hubbly-bubbly” made its rounds among the guests reclining on sofas. We, the honored guests, were 25 American social studies teachers and media specialists, selected as members of the Aramco Educators to Saudi Arabia Program by the Institute of International Education to participate in a 10-day study tour in November 2006. Our host was Saudi Aramco, the Kingdom’s largest oil corporation. Our itinerary took us to Dhahran, Jeddah, and the capital of Riyadh; there were extended visits and open exchanges in schools, a women’s business college, private homes, medical centers, cultural and educational organizations, and the Saudi Aramco headquarters in Dhahran. It was a rare opportunity and a most remarkable experience. But that starry night with the Hejazi musicians and dancers at a resort on the sea was not without a counterpoint that most certainly was not from the Arabian Nights. Across from the space reserved ...
Event Celebrating Naguib Mahfouz's Work

Event Celebrating Naguib Mahfouz’s Work

Join the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, in collaboration with the Egyptian Embassy in Washington DC, the American University in Cairo, Georgetown University’s Lannan Literary Programs of the Department of English, Georgetown University’s Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, and the Georgetown University Library to celebrate the life and work of Egyptian author and Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz on Wednesday, November 8th, at 7:00 pm in the ICC Auditorium (reception to follow). Roger Allen, Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania who has written widely on Arabic literature and was a friend of Mahfouz, and Hosam Aboul-Ela, a translator and professor of English literature at the University of Houston, Texas, will both speak about Naguib Mahfouz’s life and works, and their implications for his society and the global community they enchanted. Short readings from Mahfouz’s works in both the original Arabic and the English translation will be performed. Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and lived there his entire life, writing about the daily lives, struggles, and dreams of the Egyptian people. He is credited with making the novel a popular form of modern Arab literature – producing more than 30 novels, along with numerous short story collections, essays, and regular newspaper columns. His novels and screenplays have been made into some of the most beloved Egyptian films, and ...
One Student's Experience in Qatar

One Student’s Experience in Qatar

Qatar is not a tropical fruit. It’s not a musical instrument, and it has nothing to do with sewage systems. And if you take into account how active the country is these days in international affairs, education, the organization of conferences and international sporting events, it is truly shameful that not more people have heard of it. Still, before I went, so many people wished me good luck in Dubai, that I named my Qatar-blog “Not In Dubai”. I knew Qatar, not so much through study, but because my upcoming year there would be the reviving of a childhood living experience in Qatar, some twenty years earlier. However, before I left, I did not expect much of the country. The first delegation of students to the Qatar Program had not had an easy time. And if people hardly knew that the country existed, it could by far be not as fun and vibrant as Washington, DC. I was proven wrong. During my year in Qatar, I met the most wonderful people of various nationalities and was in my apartment way too little because I was often off in the city somewhere. And yes, I also learned a lot of Arabic...more than during any previous experience in the region. Qatar University is a place that arouses contradictory feelings. The university is among the most conservative institutions ...
Drs. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer Present Their Working Paper,

Drs. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer Present Their Working Paper,

On Wednesday, September 20th, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies hosted Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer as they presented their recent working paper, "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy." The presentation was moderated by Dean Emeritus Peter Krogh of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, who noted that the Intercultural Center Auditorium was filled to standing room only. Dr. Stephen Walt, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and currently a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, opened the discussion with a summation of the thesis of the paper. Drs. Walt and Meirsheimer write that the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on U.S. government decision-making has led to policies that are neither in the best interest of the United States nor of Israel itself. While noting that the groups that comprise the pro-Israel lobby are not monolithic or a "cabal", their efficacy in influencing American foreign policy is similar to other lobbying organizations, such as the AARP, which can channel the concerns of a group that feels passionately about their issue and are well funded. He then pointed out some examples of how the lobby contributed to U.S. foreign policy, such as lack of financial censure for West Bank settlements, lack of firm support for Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, and the second U.S. invasion of Iraq. Dr. John Mearsheimer, co-director of ...
Ambassador Dobbins calls for greater nuance in foreign policy

Ambassador Dobbins calls for greater nuance in foreign policy

On September 28th, 2006 the Honorable James F. Dobbins gave a lecture in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies entitled, “Moral Clarity & the Middle East: Longer, Wider War, or Peace?” Former Ambassador Dobbins, a graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, spoke on the necessity of international cooperation in nation building and the historical lessons to be found in previous attempts at post-war reconstruction by the United States. Ambassador Dobbins opened the lecture with a reminder of the broad international support that the United States enjoyed for its foreign policy following both Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the American intervention against the Taliban immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks. He contrasted this with the standing of world opinion now, what this means for the prospect of a successful Iraqi reconstruction, and the status of Afghanistan before and after the invasion of Iraq. According to Amb. Dobbins, the initial success against the Taliban and the quick progress made towards establishing a viable democracy for Afghanistan were the combined result of an indigenous resistance movement already in place and a shared interest among Afghanistan’s neighbors in the replacement of the Taliban regime with a democratic government. He listed the contributions of the Iranian government to the reconstruction process as particularly significant; he noted that this cooperation ended after the “Axis of Evil” State of the ...