Swarthmore College Receives Challenge Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities for Arabic Language Study

For Immediate Release:  March 24, 2006
Contact: Marsha Nishi Mullan     
610-328-8535 
http://www.swarthmore.edu/news/ 

Swarthmore College Receives Challenge Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities for Arabic Language Study

Swarthmore College has received a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support new faculty positions in the teaching of Modern Standard Arabic. 

 The NEH challenge grant of $600,000 must be matched 4:1 with non-federal funds for a total of $3 million to help endow Swarthmore's Arabic Language Program.

 "We are thrilled at the opportunity to make Arabic a substantial part of our curriculum, enabling us to prepare students to cross divides of perspective, culture, and development involving key regions of our world," said Constance Cain Hungerford, Swarthmore's provost.

 The NEH grant follows a $670,000 grant received last spring from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that counts toward the challenge.  That is part of a total $2 million grant shared by Swarthmore with Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, which supports two new faculty positions and two instructors in Arabic to teach at all three institutions.

 Swarthmore has received other gifts this year unrelated to the NEH challenge to support courses and activities related to Islamic studies:  an anonymous $1 million gift and a $1 million gift from Swarthmore alumnus Bruce Gould '54 to support courses related to Islam in such departments as Religion, Political Science, History, and Sociology and Anthropology.

 Swarthmore initially planned to wait for funding from its capital campaign before launching Islamic studies but decided to move more quickly with provisional funding following the September 11, 2001, attacks.  The College has since established two tenure-track positions in Islamic studies.

 In addition, the College has begun placing a small number of students at the University of Damascus in Syria for an intensive semester-long program in Arabic language instruction.  Two students studied there last year under the auspices of Swarthmore's semester-abroad program, and three were in Damascus last semester.