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:

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 ...
DC Students Travel to Egypt

DC Students Travel to Egypt

On April 20, 2006, a group of students from DC Public Schools found themselves standing before the massive industrial printing presses of Al Ahram Newspaper Company in Cairo, Egypt. The students were told that in that room, some hundreds of thousands of Arabic and English script newspapers were printed and eventually distributed to millions of readers in Egypt and the greater Middle East. Six months prior, these students were not thinking about Arab newspapers, and they certainly weren’t entertaining the idea of spending two weeks in April traveling the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, and Luxor in Egypt. But in the Office of International Programs (OIP) within the central offices of DC Public Schools, plans were coming together, in cooperation with AMIDEAST, to run such a trip—thanks in great part to a grant from the Mosaic Foundation. In past years, OIP, as part of its Youth Ambassadors Program, has run a number of student trips to different regions throughout the world. With the Spring 2006 Student Travel Program to Egypt, students were selected from across the city, based on academic record, community involvement, and their capacity to serve as articulate spokespersons for the school, the school system, the community, and the United States. In the end, ten sophomore and junior students were chosen, representing nine high schools from each region of DC Public Schools. The travel ...
CCAS Annual Symposium: The Politics of Education in the Arab World: Past Legacies, Current Challenges

CCAS Annual Symposium: The Politics of Education in the Arab World: Past Legacies, Current Challenges

On March 23-24, 2006, some twenty scholars and specialized professionals were invited to Georgetown University to participate in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies’ (CCAS) 2006 Annual Symposium on education in the Arab world. The Symposium was held in the Copley Formal Lounge and attracted a sizeable audience. The theme for the conference was inspired by recent United Nations Reports on Human Development that attributed the relative slow economic development of the Arab world to its uneven educational standards. As CCAS Director Michael C. Hudson remarked in his opening statement, education has become a “hot topic” in the Arab world and standards of education are increasingly recognized as critical to political, social, and economic renewal in the region. Five panels provided a detailed overview of the evolution of Arab/Muslim education and the challenges that it faces today. The Symposium—dedicated by Symposium Chair Osama Abi-Mershed to the “spirit of curiosity that animates our research and activities” at Georgetown—involved specialists and experts with long academic, theoretical, and practical engagements with issues of education in the region. The diverse backgrounds and expertise of the panelists resulted in the presentation of a wide variety of perspectives on and approaches to education in the Arab world. The Symposium opened with a discussion of historical approaches to education in the Muslim world: Professor Sebastian Günther offered a scholarly examination of the ...