The Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Middle Studies (CAMES) at the American University of Beirut launched its Summer Arabic Program for 2018, offering two intensive Arabic programs for seven weeks: The Arabic language and culture program is designed for students interested in developing overall proficiency in Arabic, and a program in Lebanese Arabic (LA) offers intensive instruction in LA at the intermediate level.
Directed by Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal, Professor of Arabic at AUB and one of the coauthors of al-Kitaab Arabic textbook series, the CAMES Summer Arabic programs is considered one of the premier programs worldwide to teach Arabic as a foreign language. With an outstanding team of instructors from AUB and other educational institutions, students have the opportunity to learn the language and engage in cultural and community-service activities. It includes a rich extracurricular program featuring lectures, movie screening, trips, and volunteer activities in some of Beirut's NGO's, in addition to poetry, dance and music clubs.
Dr. Nadia El Cheikh, Dean of The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), highlighted AUB's leading role “in producing, advancing and disseminating innovative research and teaching from and about the region”. She added “AUB’s vision is to become a major center for learning and teaching Arabic in Lebanon and the world and to become a leader in Arabic language pedagogy with the ultimate aim of changing the paradigm of Arabic language teaching and learning for both native and non-native speakers”.
Dr. Bilal Orfali, Chair of the department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages at AUB, emphasized the importance of learning a new culture through language. “you came all the way to the Middle East, with your diverse backgrounds and no matter what your interests are we are here to support you in discovering Arabic as a language and culture”, Dr. Orfali said.
This world-class Arabic program for foreigners was launched in 2000, and it continues to attract students from a variety of countries. This year, 11 classes and 9 levels of Arabic will welcome 88 students from 14 different countries.
Tara Dhaliwal, a Harvard student , says the program has offered an 'eye-opening' experience; 'Beirut so far has been an incredible experience and I have found the people and the city to be extremely welcoming”. She added “I heard of the program through my professor at Harvard and am incredibly glad that I have been given this opportunity to be part of it; I have always been passionate about learning languages and the intensive Arabic program at CAMES will be incredibly rewarding at the end of the summer."
The program’s director Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal focused on the essential idea of understanding Arabic “as one language”, adding that “cAammiyya cannot be referred to as “vulgar Arabic” , Fairuz sings poetry in cAammiyya and this is not vulgar; we should always think of Arabic “as one Language” with different flavors”. He advised students to live Arabic fully, “enjoy the language, express yourself r in either cAammiyya or FuSHaa depending on the communication context, live the experience and focus on your interests and the culture in which you are now immersed”.
CAMES Summer Arabic Programs is now a prominent learning platform for those who are seeking to learn efficiently the language and to experience the Middle East in all its aspects.