Portland State University has become one of just two Northwest universities to get federal recognition for its Middle East studies center. PSU announced Wednesday.
The designation is worth $1.6 million over the next four years. The money will pay for three professors – an Arabic language scholar, one focused on Islam, and a Mid-East geography expert.
The money will also fund scholarships for as many as ten students.
The federal funding for PSU's Middle East studies is new this year. But the university's vice provost for international affairs, Gil Latz, says it restores a distinction the college had in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.
Gil Latz: "Over the last ten or 15 years, we have not had the designation as a federally-funded national resource center. So, we in effect, are reclaiming our place at the highest levels of recognition by the federal government for the work that we do in Middle East studies."
Latz says the designation also reflects the high priority PSU is placing on international affairs under president Wim Wievel.