About the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies

The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies is an academic and research unit in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, dedicated to the study of the modern Middle East and the geo-cultural area in which Islamic civilization prospered and continues to shape world history.  An interdisciplinary and interdepartmental area studies center that offers diverse cultural, intellectual, and educational opportunities for the University of Arkansas community, it promotes research and teaching in interdisciplinary Middle East studies.

The Middle East Studies Program (MEST) falls under the purview of the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies, a unique area studies center at the U of A (and unique in this country) that was founded with a $20 million endowment from the Saudi government in the mid-1990s.  An initial endowment of $2 million, dedicated toward language, literary translation and publication was followed by a much larger $18 million gift designed to spark the foundation of a comprehensive Middle East Studies program at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

MEST faculty includes regional specialists whose disciplines of instruction include Anthropology, Archaeology, Arabic Language and Literature, Comparative Literature, Geography, History, and Political Science, and whom offer mentorship and expertise to students in Middle East Studies.  Interdisciplinary courses related to the Middle East and North Africa are offered each semester, supported by guest lectures, workshops and other programming offered by visiting scholars.

Undergraduates attain either a co-major in MEST (combined with an obligatory second major in another field) or a minor, and gain grounding in the region through language study and an interdisciplinary curriculum. The King Fahd Center offers financial support to undergraduate students through full or partial two-year scholarships designed to reward strong performance and dedication to study of the region. Travel to the Middle East is also supported through scholarships that help to defray the costs of study abroad and encourage continuation of language study.

Graduate students complete degrees in the home departments of faculty members affiliated with the King Fahd Center (Anthropology, Geosciences, History, Political Science) or under the auspices of affiliated programs (Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing and Translation, or Public Policy).  Both conference participation and overseas research and language study are supported at the graduate level by grants through the King Fahd Center. Our alumni continue to make us proud in academia, NGO and government sectors, the media, and beyond.

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