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The Arabic Language

The Arabic language has a rich artistic, religious and intellectual history that dates back thousands of years and encompasses a myriad of modern cultures and traditions throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Today, Arabic is spoken by nearly 300 million people and is an official language in over 20 different countries as well as the United Nations, playing a key role in global communications and international affairs. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) ties the Arabic-speaking world together as the literary written language of official communication, while each region features its own distinct dialect and cultural tradition. The CLS Program focuses on MSA, while giving students the opportunity to develop their colloquial Arabic skills that provide a foundation for building strong relations.

Arabic has been growing in popularity among American students for years and has attracted intellectuals from across the academic spectrum. Whether you're studying economics, anthropology, public health, or history, there is a great demand for proficient Arabic-speakers with on-the-ground experience in the MENA region.

Program Sites

Ibri, Oman
Jun 29, 2020 - Aug 21, 2020
Meknes, Morocco
Jun 29, 2020 - Aug 21, 2020

Previous Institutes

Featured Alumni Profiles

Radhika Arora
Arabic 2018
Meknes, Morocco
Sarah Whipple
Arabic 2017
Meknes, Morocco
Luana Davila
Arabic 2019
Meknes, Morocco

Arabic Stories

The 2021 Summer Application is Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2021 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! We welcome your students to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.

The application is now live and available...

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Posted August 27, 2020


Arabic’s Avoidable End at Sewanee
Max Saltman (Arabic '20), writes an op-ed in the Sewanee student newspaper arguing against the cancellation of the Arabic program at Sewanee and advocating for expanded teaching and learning of critical languages in higher education.

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Posted August 24, 2020


Nilaya Knafo

Nilaya Knafo is an alumna of the 2017 CLS Arabic program in Amman, Jordan. A 2019 graduate of American University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations, Nilaya focused her studies on foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa. She now works as a Senior Program Assistant at...

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Posted July 09, 2020