The University Record, May 6, 1997

Area studies centers pleased with
renewed federal funding

By Jared Blank

The University's four area studies centers have received renewed federal funding for the next three years and funds to establish a new Center for South Asian Studies. In addition, the U-M and Indiana University jointly received funding to offer fellowships for graduate and professional students in Latin American and Caribbean studies.

The area centers that have retained funding are the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies. The awards---from the Title VI program of the U.S. Department of Education---provide funds to support the centers and fellowships for graduate and professional students undertaking language and area studies training in designated language fields.

"Michigan has been a national leader in area studies for many years. Our federally funded centers have long been and continue to be extremely important interdisciplinary units that bring students and faculty from across campus and the broader community together around important intellectual interests in various parts of the world," says LS&A Dean Edie N. Goldenberg. "It is extremely gratifying to see our outstanding faculty and programs recognized through continued federal funding for East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Russian/Eastern Europe, and it is exciting to see our strengths in South Asian and Latin American/Caribbean studies nationally recognized by additional federal support."

David W. Cohen, director of the International Institute, which coordinates the area studies centers with LS&A, says that the area centers assume a number of roles for faculty and students, including:

 

Providing enrichment for existing academic programs through teaching, training, speakers, conferences and workshops.

 

Supporting teaching of less commonly taught languages and faculty research.

 

Supporting intensive summer study through the International Institute's Summer Language Institute, which will offer 49 courses this summer.

 

Supporting graduate and professional student training in area studies and joint master's degree programs with professional schools.

 

Creating outreach programs to schools and communities.

Cohen adds that the renewed funding is especially exciting, given the current federal budget climate. "This is a major accomplishment for the faculty and staff from the centers and the International Institute, which helped coordinate the applications," he says. "These funds are an extraordinary development in a year where we heard that 10 previously funded centers around the country did not receive federal funding.

"I am looking forward with pleasure to the immense contributions to the University and the broader world of learning that will be produced through these resources," he adds.