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Mellon Foundation grant allows for restructuring of Middle Eastern Studies curriculum

UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies has been awarded a grant to support the redesign of its curriculum. Ali Behdad, the Center’s current director, previously oversaw a similar endeavor at the UCLA English department while serving as its former chair. (Courtesy of UCLA Newsroom)

By Sameera Pant

Aug. 5, 2019 12:33 a.m.

UCLA’s Center for Near Eastern Studies has been awarded a grant for a redesign of its curriculum, according to a university press release Friday.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an organization which works to promote the humanities and arts, awarded the center a two-year grant of $350,000 to support a pilot program aimed at restructuring how Middle Eastern Studies are taught at UCLA.

According to the press release, the grant will fund workshops and research groups. It will also endow a conference to inform community colleges, high schools and the public on the development of new curricula and teaching models on the Middle East and North Africa.

Ali Behdad, the center’s current director and an English professor, previously oversaw a similar redesign of the UCLA English department while serving as its former chair. This earlier restructuring process, also funded by the Mellon Foundation, led to the development of new, interdisciplinary courses.

In the press release, Behdad said the redesign plans to help create a better understanding of the region at a time when government funding for Middle East programs is decreasing.

The redesign will involve UCLA faculty and graduate students, leaders of Middle Eastern centers at other institutions, and nonacademic members of the Middle Eastern and North African communities in Los Angeles.

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Sameera Pant
Pant is the assistant News editor for Science and Health. She was previously a News contributor. Pant is a second-year economics student who enjoys writing about sustainability and public health.
Pant is the assistant News editor for Science and Health. She was previously a News contributor. Pant is a second-year economics student who enjoys writing about sustainability and public health.
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