Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Concentrations at SAIS: Middle East Studies

Photo taken in Morocco
by Nicolo' Lanciotti BC11/DC12
The Middle East Studies Program offers a comprehensive approach to the study of the region. It covers topics such as failing states, political transitions, economic development, state-to-state conflict and nuclear proliferation, as well as religions, ethnicity, and tribalism.

Middle East Studies courses take a historical and theoretical approach to study of regional issues and topics. A few courses focus on particular countries, such as Iran and Egypt, but most explore broad regional or topical questions. The geographic range spans from Morocco to Iran to Turkey to Somalia.

Students at SAIS Europe have the opportunity to learn Arabic while taking courses such as Twin Pillars of the Gulf, Political Leadership of the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 

This semester alone, SAIS Europe has hosted lectures on the region by Anis Nacour, Chargé d'Affaires, European Union Delegation to Syria and Gary Sick, former White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis.

SAIS Europe’s close proximity to the Middle East provides students with the option of learning about the region through first-hand experience. In past years, students in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict course have traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories with Professor Del Sarto. Here is a post on the trip.

This past weekend, a group of students traveled to Morocco, while plans are in the works for some students to travel to Egypt, Turkey, and Israel during Winter Break.

For further exposure to the Middle East, SAIS Europe students can participate in the Arabic Language and Food Club. The club was started by four students from various concentrations because of a large demand for more opportunities to learn about the region's culture, food, and music.

Below, Samine Joudat, an M.A. student at SAIS Europe concentrating in Middle East Studies, discusses why he chose his concentration:

The Middle East Studies program at SAIS is amazing in both breadth and rigor. I was initially an American Foreign Policy student, but was convinced to change when I saw the value of our MES program. 

The hiring of Middle East expert Vali Nasr as the Dean coupled with the ongoing events in the Middle East has made the MES program a huge focus at SAIS. 

The professors, the range of classes, the rigor of the requirements in both history and current issues, alongside SAIS's outstanding language program (where you can learn Farsi or Arabic) make the MES one of the best in the IR community.

Chelsea Boorman
SAIS Europe 2015

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