Syracuse University announces creation of bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate focused on the Middle East
Syracuse University announces creation of bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate focused on the Middle EastAugust 29, 2008Rob Enslinrmenslin@syr.edu
In response to the Middle East’s dominant role on the international stage and heightened student interest in that region, Syracuse University has created a Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle Eastern studies and a graduate certificate of advanced studies in Middle Eastern affairs.
Both programs are currently accepting applications and are part of the interdisciplinary Middle Eastern Studies Program (MESP), overseen by The College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. For more information, contact Mehrzad Boroujerdi, MESP director and associate professor of political science, at (315) 443-5877.
“The MESP is one of the crown jewels of Syracuse University’s interdisciplinary programs. We are proud to partner with the nationally ranked Maxwell School in the MESP and in the creation of this interdisciplinary bachelor’s program,” says Arts and Sciences Dean George M. Langford. “The opportunity for rigorous study of this critical region will be beneficial to undergraduates for generations to come.”
“Because the Middle East has become such a focal point of interest, conflict and vital energy resources, it is important that students at Syracuse University become better informed about the history, culture, religion and politics of the region,” says Maxwell Dean Mitchel Wallerstein. “We are pleased to be collaborating with The College of Arts and Sciences on the MESP, which has developed rapidly under the highly capable direction of Professor Boroujerdi. The MESP is part of a larger mosaic of activities and collaborations in the Middle East region that are being undertaken within the Maxwell School.”
Both new programs trace their roots to 2003, when SU established the MESP and began offering a minor in Middle Eastern studies. Boroujerdi, who also directs the Religion, Media and International Affairs Program, says that the minor has since enrolled more students than all the other regional studies minors combined. “The minor’s remarkable trajectory has been made possible by wide faculty participation and diligent course integration,” says Boroujerdi, also acknowledging the many lectures, conferences, cultural events and film series offered by Maxwell’s Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs. “Having completed a successful infancy period with the minor, it is time to make Syracuse University a premier institution for undergraduate and graduate study of the Middle East.” The Middle East, defined by MESP, encompasses Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The 36-credit undergraduate major will be offered by The College of Arts and Sciences and will utilize faculty members of both the college and the Maxwell School. Boroujerdi says the program will give students a broad and interdisciplinary grounding in the languages, history, culture, religions and politics of the Middle East. “Graduates of the Middle Eastern studies major will be well equipped for public- and private-sector careers that require knowledge of this important region,” he says. “The program will be especially useful to students interested in pursuing careers or additional training in business, journalism, nonprofit organizations, international relations, law, government and foreign services.”
The 12-credit graduate certificate program, offered by the Maxwell School, will be aimed at professionals and scholars with a penchant for the historical, political and religious features of the Middle East. Interdisciplinary in scope, the program will offer a concrete and practical base from which to approach the region, as well as a competitive advantage for future employment and career options in business, journalism, nonprofit organizations, international relations, law, public policy and administration, and executive education. “The certificate will be symbolic of the University’s efforts to expand its curriculum, internationalize its student base, and appeal to new generations of students who appreciate the contemporary importance of the Middle East,” Boroujerdi says. The certificate is SU’s only graduate-level program devoted to the Middle East.
The MESP was established to expose SU students to the diverse cultures, languages, literatures, religions and political systems of the Middle East. The program brings together faculty members from many academic units on campus, including anthropology; architecture; communications and rhetorical studies; education; fine arts; history; international relations; languages, literatures and linguistics; law; political science; and religion. The research and teaching interests of affiliated faculty include analysis of ancient source texts; literature, religion and culture of the Middle East; conflict resolution; and contemporary politics. More information is available at http://middle-eastern-studies.syr.edu