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December 3, 2014
Visitors from the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. and the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta met with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill representatives on Nov. 19 to discuss opportunities to develop deeper relationships with Israeli universities.
Oren Marmorstein, counselor for public and academic affairs at the Embassy of Israel to the U.S., and Gillian Miller, academic director for the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast U.S., who were in North Carolina visiting universities, also shared resources and support that the embassy and consulate can provide for universities pursuing student exchanges and research collaborations with colleagues in Israel.
UNC participants in the lunch discussion included Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer; Jonathan Hartlyn, senior associate dean for social sciences and global programs in the College of Arts and Sciences; Shai Tamari, associate director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations; Rodney Vargas, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East programs director in the Study Abroad Office in the College of Arts and Sciences; Ari Gauss, executive director of North Carolina Hillel; and Melissa McMurray, international liaison officer for UNC Global.
November 22, 2014
Winter’s coming, and the Duke-UNC rivalry is heating up. The schools’ football teams battled Thursday night in a nationally televised game. Their men’s basketball teams are both ranked in the Top 10, and their women’s teams are in the Top 15, promising fans plenty of reasons to trade insults this season.
Well away from the spotlight, however, the two universities collaborate far more often than they compete. Over the next several years, they’ll extend an important initiative they began decades ago: enhancing our state’s and nation’s understanding of one of the world’s least understood regions – the Middle East.
The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies recently won a four-year, $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, cementing its status as the Southeast’s premier center for studying a region that is constantly in the headlines.
The consortium, which was formalized in 2008, brings together the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center. The two institutions will use the grant to fund joint courses, workshops, outreach to K-12 schools, academic fellowships and projects with national media, business and government officials. The initiative builds on an informal partnership on Middle East studies that the universities began in the late 1950s.
“We need to raise the level of conversation about this region,” says Carl Ernst, co-director of UNC’s Carolina Center. “We want to get information based on real expertise into the conversation and make it available in a very comprehensive way.”
November 5, 2014
The UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication hosted 20 journalists from the Near East and North Africa from Oct. 30 – Nov. 4 as part of the 2014 Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists.
The journalists’ visit was part of a three-week exchange to examine the essential role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democracy. The Murrow Program is a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program, and is a public-private partnership with nine leading schools of journalism that host the participants.
UNC J-school faculty members Chris Roush, Steven King, John Clark and Gary Kayye gave presentations during the program. Shai Tamari, associate director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, and Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain and adjunct faculty member of Islamic Studies at Duke University, also presented.
The group also toured local media organizations that included WUNC, UNC-TV and The Daily Tar Heel.
The Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists honors the legendary CBS News radio reporter whose career included historic coverage of World War II and later critical reporting on Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Murrow would go on to be appointed director of the U.S. Information Agency.
Program participants actively tweeted their experience using the #IVLPMurrow hashtag.
October 21, 2014
A recent award from the U.S. Department of Education firmly positions the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East studies as the principal National Resource Center for Middle East studies in the southeastern United States. The Consortium is a collaborative project of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (CCSMEMC) at UNC, and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC).
The Duke-UNC Consortium is among a select group of academic institutions awarded Title VI funding from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2014-18 grant cycle. The grant, totaling nearly $2.4 million, will support and promote administration, faculty positions, course development and pedagogy related to Middle East languages and content; workshops, seminars and speaker series; collaboration with local, regional and national media, business, and government officials; outreach to K-14 schools; and Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for the study of Middle East languages.
UNC’s Middle East center has been supporting Middle East-related activities since 2003, while Duke’s Middle East center was established in 2008. The Duke-UNC Consortium previously was designated as a Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Center for Middle East Studies in 2010-14; fifteen Middle East National Resource Centers were awarded in the current cycle, and only twelve received FLAS grants.
Charles Kurzman, co-director of CCSMEMC and professor of Sociology at UNC, underscored the significance of the grant. “This award establishes UNC and Duke as the leading center for engagement with the Middle East in this part of the country,” Kurzman said. “We are especially pleased to have been awarded the largest number of FLAS fellowships of any Middle East center in the country.”
Universities across the country compete for Title VI money every four years. Other UNC centers that were funded include the African Studies Center, the Carolina Asia Center, the Center for European Studies, the Center for Global Initiatives, and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Latin American Studies.
“We are extremely proud to have succeeded in this prestigious competition,” said CCSMEMC co-director Carl Ernst, Kenan professor of Religious Studies. “UNC has become a major center for the study of Middle Eastern culture and its languages, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu.”
Barely a decade after the founding of CCSMEMC, the university now boasts the largest enrollments in Middle Eastern languages, the largest Middle East library collection, a significant collection of Middle Eastern art, and the most impactful Middle East-related outreach in the southeastern United States.
“This grant is a major achievement that reflects the growing national and international prominence of our programs in Middle East Studies and recognizes the vision, hard work, and dedication of faculty, staff and students,” said Jonathan Hartlyn, senior associate dean for social sciences and global programs in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC.
October 15, 2014
Six global and area studies centers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will receive approximately $9.1 million in competitive federal Title VI grants over the next four years.
Through two programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education, UNC has been awarded approximately $1.14 million for National Resource Centers (NRC) and $1.14 million for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) scholarships for 2014-2015. Federal funding for international education has tightened in the past few years, and this cycle’s application process was especially competitive. In the past cycle, 144 National Resource Centers were funded, and in the current cycle, 100 were funded.
“The grants support many key programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and beyond, including language instruction, teaching, research and community outreach that spans the globe,” said Karen M. Gil, dean of the college. “With these international centers, we are educating our students to be the leaders of tomorrow in a fast-changing global society.”
UNC has consistently been among the top U.S. universities in the number of these resource centers with six, which are located in the FedEx Global Education Center. Five area studies centers are part of the college, and the sixth is the pan-university Center for Global Initiatives.
“These awards allow UNC-Chapel Hill to substantially advance global education and the scholarly opportunities for our students and faculty. The work of these centers enhances international research and learning, and this is critical to our being a leading global public research university,” said Ronald P. Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer for UNC.
Interdisciplinary programs supported through the centers by the federal grant awards include:
The following centers have received U.S. Department of Education grants. Approximate NRC grant amounts are listed first after each center’s name. FLAS awards are listed second.
For more about the centers, visit http://global.unc.edu/centerinstitutes/.
September 15, 2014
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications from early-career social scientists affiliated with universities in the Arab world for semester-long fellowships in Fall 2015.
With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the fellowship offers advanced doctoral candidates or post-doctoral scholars within five years of their Ph.D. an opportunity to work with a faculty mentor at UNC-Chapel Hill, participate in ongoing research groups, and, if they desire, audit graduate seminars. The program is intended to provide an intensive intellectual experience, including advanced methodological training, for Arab social scientists at a formative stage of their career. The selected fellows must be physically based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for the full semester of their fellowship. Fellows will participate in the scholarly activities of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, including the presentation of their research at the Center’s colloquium series.
While any research subject will be considered, applicants working on issues related to food and food security, broadly conceived, may also be considered for a fellowship at UNC’s Global Research Institute and awarded additional privileges at the university, including access to research clusters.
Applications for Fall 2015 fellowships are due on December 15, 2014. Application materials should be sent by e-mail to email@example.com. Applicants are asked to identify one or more faculty mentors at UNC-Chapel Hill, propose a research and training agenda for the fellowship period, and supply two letters of recommendation. Applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill. All fellows must be affiliated with an Arab university and must be currently engaged in research in any social science discipline, or social-scientific work in information science, law, public health, and other fields. Individuals primarily employed by think tanks or other non-university entities cannot be considered. The program anticipates offering three fellowships in Fall 2015, with a salary of $30,000 each, plus benefits including health insurance, and support for travel to the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.
Applicants should send the following materials as e-mail attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15, 2014:
1. Letter indicating your academic background, research focus, a research and training agenda for the fellowship period, and one or more faculty mentors at UNC (in English).
Applicants are encouraged to contact potential mentors on the faculty at UNC well in advance of the application deadline, so as to inform them of your interest in the fellowship and inquire about their willingness to serve as a mentor.
September 1, 2014
UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies Professor Carl Ernst was in India this summer as principal academic organizer of an international workshop on “Practice, Performance, and Politics of Sufi Shrines in South Asia and Beyond,” held August 1-4, 2014 in Ellora-Khuldabad, Maharashtra State.
Dr. Ernst shared with the Transcultural Islam Project’s Transcultural Islam Research Network (TIRN) a write-up on this workshop by Prof. Philip Lutgendorf (President of the American Institute of Indian Studies), as well as details on a series of lectures Ernst delivered at Indian universities subsequent to the workshop.
August 29, 2014
Since he began working at Duke, Mohsen Kadivar has worked closely with faculty and students both on campus and down the road a bit at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Both campuses boast small but well-regarded religious studies departments. When Kadivar joined Duke as a visiting professor in 2009, he was quickly recruited by UNC-Chapel Hill to give an occasional guest lecture, and since then he has taught and mentored students at both universities.
Now, the relationship has become more formal. This fall, Kadivar will hold the Nannerl Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship, an appointment spanning both schools. The Islamic philosophy scholar will spend the semester teaching “Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500-Present,” a course he has not taught previously, on UNC’s campus. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students from both universities.
August 20, 2014
This week, as first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine engage in a new and different curriculum, a delegation of doctors from Iraq’s University of Baghdad is on campus meeting professors, doctors, administrators and students to learn how UNC is teaching the next generation of doctors.
The collaboration, funded through the International Medical Corps (IMC), aims to enhance the curricula in the 23 medical schools throughout Iraq, starting with the University of Baghdad College of Medicine. Iraq’s education system has already moved to a six-year education model common to European universities, where students begin their medical education at age 18. But Iraqi medical educators turned to UNC to learn how a top American medical school revamped its curriculum to improve an already top-tier institution.
The Iraqi delegation is visiting classrooms to observe UNC’s new curriculum in action, including how UNC professors integrate basic science with real-life examples of disease states that students will see in the clinic.
August 19, 2014
By Candace Mixon
From May 23, 2014 until July 12, 2014, I travelled to Istanbul, Turkey and from there to Iran to study visual and material culture related to modern religious practices and the Ahl al-bayt, or the Family of the Prophet Muhammad. My research was supported by the Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies, the Carolina Center for Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, and the American Institute of Iranian Studies.
During my time in Iran, I visited Tehran, Mashhad, Qom, Esfahan, and Shiraz, and carried out a variety of activities from visiting museums, universities, libraries, and cultural centers to city exploration and photography.