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AUB 2017 summer programs launched for Arabic language and culture
6/21/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
The AUB Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) launched its Summer Arabic Programs which offer intensive Arabic language and culture courses to international college students between June 21 and August 9. The programs have attracted 86 students this year, 20 more than last year, and will be led by their new director, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal.

Since the summer of 2000, CAMES has been offering a proficiency-based curriculum of eight levels of Modern Standard Arabic and one level of Lebanese colloquial Arabic with the aim to provide non-native speakers with an opportunity to learn the different varieties of Arabic within an intensive setting and immerse themselves in the culture. 

Leading the programs this year is co-author of al-Kitaab Arabic textbook series, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal. Before joining AUB, Dr. Al-Batal was a member of the faculty at the University of Texas, Austin, and he directed a number of Arabic programs in the US including the Arabic Flagship program at the University of Texas; the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) with its programs in Cairo, Damascus, and Amman; the School of Arabic at Middlebury College; and the Emory University Arabic program. He has published articles dealing with various aspects of teaching Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) and discourse analysis in Arabic. Dr. Al-Batal holds a PhD in Arabic Linguistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is now also professor of Arabic in AUB’s Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages. 

“My goal is to create a center of excellence at AUB in the field of teaching Arabic as a second language and make the AUB CAMES Arabic program a world leader in this area and a hub for the development and implementation of new theories, approaches, and practices in the field,” Dr. Al-Batal told us. “I feel confident that this goal is attainable, thanks to the outstanding quality of our faculty and the tremendous support we enjoy from AUB through its Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), CAMES, and the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages.”

The intensive program offers over twenty-three hours of classroom instruction per week along with a rich cultural program that includes lectures; films; music, dance, and cooking clubs; chat sessions; experiential learning through field trips to various parts of Beirut and Lebanon; and opportunities to engage in cultural, volunteering, and community-service activities.  

Josh Calvo is a PhD student at Princeton University who has joined CAMES to work intensively on his Arabic. “I work on comparative literature and I want to get to a point where I can read novels fluently and quickly,” he told us. “I hope to spend a lot of hours in air conditioned rooms reading very difficult books, although hanging out at AUB and Beirut is great too!”

Within a learner-centered environment, the students who came this year from 24 countries worldwide will be guided by an expert team of 19 instructors and 7 tutors. They will be exposed to communicative tasks, goals, and contexts that develop their intercultural competence in Arabic at different levels of proficiency. Credit hours are granted for the two programs and can be transferred to students’ home institutions.

“I really like the language and want to get better at speaking it,” Elizeh Sethi from Pakistan told us. “It’s not related to what I study at Amherst but I have grown up reading the Quran without understanding it and I think this would really be helpful for me.”

The students underwent orientation sessions that opened with words of welcome and introduction by Dr. Al-Batal, Dr. Ramzi Baalbaki representing the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages, and Dean of FAS, Dr. Naida El Cheikh. Before going on guided campus tours, the students then listened to helpful advice on health, safety, security, support, helpful contacts, and do's and don’ts from Director of the Office of International Programs, Hala Dimechkie, and the AUB Chief of Security, Captain Saadallah Shalak.

“It is AUB’s vision, our vision, 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,” said Dean Nadia El Cheikh.
Story Highlights
  • ​​The AUB Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) launched its Summer Arabic Programs which offer intensive Arabic language and culture courses to international college students between June 21 and August 9.
  • The programs have attracted 86 students this year, 20 more than last year, and will be led by their new director, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Batal.
 
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