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.

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The Inconclusive War: Lebanon 2006

The latest estimates place the casualties of the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon at 2,371 mostly civilian deaths, about a third of them children; 5,479 wounded; and approximately 1,300,000 displaced persons. In addition, the conflict has caused an estimated $4.5 billion in damages to civilian infrastructures and to the natural environment, and has left large areas in southern Lebanon littered with unexploded ordnance. In response, CCAS has planned a series of activities and online publications to address this issue. The CCAS Reseach and Publications division is publishing a series of "Emails from Lebanon and Israel" on our website from MAAS alumni on the ground during the turmoil. Some of the personal narratives are also accompanied by photos. To complement the online stories, the Public Affairs Program will hosts the first in a “Lebanon Series” series on August 31. A panel of scholars, academics, and humanitarian aid practitioners will analyze Israel’s most recent war against Lebanon at the local, regional and global levels, from its impact on Lebanon’s internal and sectarian politics to its repercussions on the overall policies of the US in the Middle East. The panelists will focus on the regional re-configurations of power in the wake of the war, on the resulting humanitarian situation, and on the varied media reactions to and portrayals of the war. Finally, they will assess the prospects ...
MAAS Alum Working for Development in Yemen

MAAS Alum Working for Development in Yemen

“Welcome back to Yemen!” This is what I have heard so many times from the friendly faces since I arrived in Sana’a at the end of July 2006. I have lived in Sana’a, the capital of the Republic of Yemen, before, while working for the Japanese Embassy as an administrative assistant from 1999 to 2001. At that time, I was a new graduate from a college in Japan, in my early 20’s, and nothing could stop me from being curious about every single part of the Yemeni people’s lives. My pure curiosity, and probably my naiveté, greatly helped me mingle with the local people. I was invited to parties at diplomats’ residences as well as local family gatherings, even with female family members. People I met in Yemen during those 2 years were so kind, warm and welcoming that the good experiences I had in this country have been unforgettable and imprinted in my consciousness. With a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Arab Studies (MAAS) program, I’m having my second experience living here in Sana’a, and working as a development programs coordinator at the Japanese Embassy. I deal with grass-roots and human security projects which are acutely needed not only in rural villages but also in cities in this country. Every year the Embassy receives more than 140 applications from local schools, community development groups, ...
CCAS Offers Grants and Study Opportunities

CCAS Offers Grants and Study Opportunities

Interested in deepening or sharing your knowledge of the Arab world? The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies is pleased to offer a range of scholarships, fellowships, and awards to Georgetown and non-Georgetown academics who are interested in Arab studies. To support original research and hear fresh perspectives, the Center offers the Sultan of Oman Scholarly Paper Prize of $2,000 to the most original scholarly paper in modern Arab studies. For recent PhDs exploring US-Arab Relations, Arab or Islamic Studies the Center offers a one-year Post-Doctoral fellowship, made possible by the State of Qatar. There is also an opportunity to study Arabic at the University of Qatar on a scholarship program administered by CCAS. Specifically, the Oman Paper prize is awarded to a scholar whose writing illustrates innovation, has a strong theoretical component, and advances our knowledge of the Arab world. Ranging from 10,000-20,000 words, these papers must be comparable to the standards of leading scholarly journals. The papers must be exclusive to the Oman Paper prize and cannot have been published elsewhere. While the Paper prize allows scholars to demonstrate their knowledge, opportunities abound for students looking to advance their understanding of the Arab world and perfect their Arabic skills, such as the Qatar Scholarship Program. Awarded to five committed Arabic language students from the US, the program is designed to help these students master ...
Revolutionary Art

Revolutionary Art

My introduction to the Arab world took place in 1974 when, as a 25 year-old Peace Corps volunteer, I was sent to teach welding, masonry and other technical subjects at a new vocational training school established by the Moroccan government in Bab Kechich, a working class neighborhood in Marrakech's old city. Recognizing the challenge of learning Moroccan dialectical Arabic sufficiently well enough to teach in it, the Peace Corps doubled my monthly tutoring stipend thereby allowing me to hire both a morning and evening Arabic tutor. At the suggestion of one of my tutors, I began translating Arabic language posters pasted up on public wall space as a way of practicing with my Arabic-English dictionary as well as to relieve the monotony of daily study. It was through this experience that I came across my first Palestine poster. By the time I left Morocco, in 1976, I had collected approximately 300 posters printed by, or in solidarity with, the Palestinian liberation movement. When I returned to the US in 1976 I entered Ohio State University and majored in education and minored in contemporary Middle East history and Modern Standard Arabic, graduating with a B.S. Ed., in 1979. Thanks to a grant awarded with the support of the late Edward Said, I processed the Palestine posters I had collected in the Peace Corps into a slide ...
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

One of the sessions at the annual summer workshop for teachers this past June featured a “webquest” titled, “Mightier than the Sword: Calligraphy of the 16th Century Imperial Courts.” The speaker was Sophia Husain, an English teacher at Wakefield High School (Arlington, VA), who developed this resource under the direction of the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development. For this session of the workshop, attendees gathered in a computer lab and explored the site with Ms. Husain in real time. This Web-based curriculum unit provides a creative and interactive approach to studying many of the major empires that dominated the world stage in the 15th and 16th centuries. Using Islamic calligraphy as an entry point, students learn about eight empires—the Songhay, Saadian, Mughal, Safavid, Ottoman, Ming, Tokugawa Shogunate, and Hapsburg—from historical, literary, and artistic angles. The free online tool is designed for high school students of World History, Literature, Art, and Mathematics. It addresses national standards for 9th and 10th grade subject areas. The lesson is organized in a series of interdisciplinary stages that move students from research to presentation in approximately three weeks (though the expectations and time frame can be adjusted according to classroom needs). If students have access to the Internet outside of the classroom, they can complete the entire project without taking any class time, until their day of presentation ...