Why LC needs a Middle East Studies Program

By Caleb Diehl /// Editor-in-Chief

Throughout this semester, faculty and students have been fighting to bring a Middle East Studies program to Lewis & Clark. Their plan calls for a Middle East Studies Symposium and a full-time Arabic language program. These essential proposals deserve funding from administrators and support from students.

The Middle East symposium, currently in planning stages, is an outlet for student research, especially for students of history, international affairs and economics or students returning from the Morocco study abroad program.

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In the 21st century, Arabic is a language integral to international affairs and business. This is an inconvenient fact for current LC students. If you want to learn Arabic right now, you have two options: travel to Portland State University or travel to Morocco. PSU runs on a quarter system, meaning that its credits don’t always transfer to LC. Morocco is far away.

If LC chooses to offer a full-time Arabic program, it would become the first liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest to do so. That would fit in nicely with all of our Pioneer rhetoric, not to mention our marketing buzzwords: global engagement and an international focus.

Unfortunately, the administrators who talked to the students representing the Middle-East Initiative told them to find their own money for the program. This is strange considering that LC funds new academic and supplemental programs every year. The college recently created a neuroscience minor. It pours money into the entrepreneurship center.

Join the Middle-East Initiative. Put pressure on administrators to find funding for the program. Submit research to the symposium organizers. These are a few things you can do to make Middle East Studies a reality at LC.

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