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The Middle East remains one of the most misunderstood regions of the world, especially to Western cultures. Not only is it considered to be the cradle of humankind, but it is the birthplace of a handful of the world’s greatest religions, all of which continue to be in conflict with each other. Religion, oil, and socio-economic issues all converge to create a continually volatile political arena. Because the region is so critical to the rest of the world and increasingly powerful, especially for its gifts of petroleum resources, there is a strong need for well-trained professionals who have experience with all aspects of the Middle East.
Middle Eastern studies are hot subjects. Students have the opportunity to find quite generous scholarships, from both university and government sources. Graduates of a Middle Eastern studies program may go on to work in government, business and industry, or education.
The Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas-Austin is instrumental in providing generous funding for students in the Middle Eastern studies program or who are researching in closely related fields. Scholarships include:
- Ann Grabhorn Friday Endowed Presidential Fellowship in Middle Eastern Studies is competitive and designed to support the ongoing studies of a female student in the Masters program. Candidates must be deeply engaged in Arabic studies or general Middle Eastern studies to win the annual $5,000 scholarship.
- Iranian Studies Fellowships give $2,500 to a graduate level student whose concentration in any major is on Iranian studies. This does not mean applicants must be Middle Eastern studies majors. The award is based on academic merit and proven interest in the subject in combination with relevance for career goals. Awards may vary with funding.
- Graduate students at UT studying the Turkish language may be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship attached to the Turkish Studies Fellowship. The strongest applicant is chosen with emphasis on academic merit and the scholarship’s relation to the candidates educational and career goals.
- Middle Eastern Studies Teaching Assistantships are divied up among over a dozen talented graduate students whose skills with Middle Eastern languages, especially, may be useful to the department.
- Grad students who are interested in advanced study of a Middle Eastern language may qualify for one of the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships for a summer or year of study. Awards are based on funding from the government.
Johns Hopkins University has had a well-developed Middle Eastern Studies program for years and considers itself one of the best. While many programs focus on language, Johns Hopkins requires an interdisciplinary curriculum in Middle Eastern Studies. One of its strongest characteristics, they believe, is the emphasis on study abroad. Middle Eastern Studies students are strongly encouraged to study for a temr in the Middle East, especially to hone their language skills and experience the culture first hand. The department scholarships for summer study abroad provide varying levels of funding for qualified students in the major.
The King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas offers Four-year and Two-year Undergraduate Scholarships for outstanding ME students. Between $6,000 and $12,000 is up for grabs to those applicants who show the best combination of academic talent and financial need.
The Sultan Program at the University of California-Berkeley offers a limited number of graduate fellowships to outstanding grad students whose commitment to Middle Eastern Studies in exemplary. The Sultan Program offers generous support thanks to its funding by the Sultan Bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud Foundation which is a leading philanthropic organization devoted to supporting various projects including those that encourage education on Arabic and Middle Eastern studies.
The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) sponsors the federally funded Critical Language Scholarships. The highly competitive awards are well advertised and provide qualified students with generous funding to study Middle Eastern languages abroad in various locations every summer. Candidates from undergraduate through doctoral level may be considered for the awards.