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FAU Receives Grant to Strengthen Asian Studies Program

            BOCA RATON (September 7, 2010) – Florida Atlantic University’s Asian Studies Certificate program, the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature, and the Office of International Programs recently received an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant from the U.S. Department of Education to enhance the university’s Asian studies curriculum. The grant, consisting of $200,000 over two years, will strengthen FAU’s Asian studies certificate program and increase faculty in Asian studies. FAU’s Asian studies program encompasses East, South and West Asia, and the Middle East.
            The grant will allow FAU’s department of languages, linguistics and comparative literature to offer classes in Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. The department will also offer a series of six new interdisciplinary courses on Asian studies and update six existing course offerings.  To facilitate these course enhancements, the department will expand faculty expertise in Asian studies with a series of faculty development activities, including an annual faculty development seminar, three faculty research awards each year and an annual teacher workshop on aspects of Asian studies. Two new faculty members for Chinese and Arabic will be hired on a permanent basis as of 2012.
            FAU’s Office of International Programs will use grant money to expand study abroad and student exchange opportunities in selected locations in East, South and West Asia.
            “We are very excited about this development,” said Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. “This federal grant could not have come at a better time because it will help the College build faculty and the programs that enhance our students’ understanding of the vast region of Asia that includes the Middle East. In addition, this is a boost to the proposed Institute for Middle East Studies because in addition to offering courses in Hebrew, the College will now prepare students who are interested in learning Arabic. Proficiency in languages is the key to understanding other cultures and also to finding jobs globally.”
            Over one fifth of the world’s population, or over one billion people, speak some form of Chinese as their native language. Arabic is spoken by approximately 280 million people. Furthermore, three of the world’s largest nations, China, India and Indonesia, are in Asia.
             “This grant will give us increased expertise among faculty and students across FAU colleges on this strategically important nexus of world regions,” said Michael Horswell, chair of the department of languages, linguistics, and comparative literature. “Our graduates will be better prepared to meet the challenges of living and working in a globalized society in which language proficiency and cross-cultural competency in Arabic and Chinese are becoming increasingly important.”
            For more information on FAU’s Asian studies certificate program in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, contact the director, Kenneth Holloway, at For information on studying world languages and cultures, including languages of Asia and the Middle East such as Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, and Japanese, contact Michael Horswell at For opportunities in study abroad in Asia or elsewhere, contact Cathy Meschievitz at

- FAU –

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Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the
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