Indiana University has been chosen to lead the United States Department of Defense's undergraduate Arabic Language Flagship program.
This will be the fifth time IU has been selected by the Institute of International Education to establish a Language Flagship program, according to an IU press release.
The program is designed to help students of different disciplines, such as business, music and liberal arts, develop language skills and certification to prepare for careers as global professionals, according to the release.
The goal of the program is to create a strong pool of professionals to work in the public and private sectors, as well as the U.S. government.
Hilary Khan, an assistant dean in the School of Global and International Studies, said in the release the program will place IU among a broader consortium of national Arabic and Language Flagships, which will allow IU to share work and learn from its partners.
"The Language Flagship sees itself as leading the way nationally toward a new approach for language learning," Khan said in the release. "It's really focused on putting language learning into practice and using language skills in particular domains and professional contexts."
IU offers more Language Flagship programs than any other university in the U.S., according to the release.
IU currently has undergraduate Language Flagship programs in Chinese, Turkish and Swahili, and previously had a graduate program in Chinese.
Salman Alani, a professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures, will lead the new Arabic Flagship program.
"The Arabic Flagship program will give us the opportunity to develop the Arabic language program at all levels and to provide our students with advanced language learning and promote and improve on teaching excellence in Arabic language," Alani said in the release.
There are currently 135 IU student enrolled in Arabic language courses, according to the release, coming from around the world from as far as China and Korea.
Lee A. Feinstein, founding dean of the School of Global and International Studies, discussed IU's background in Arabic education in the release.
"IU in 1966 became a pioneer in the teaching of Arabic, and we are thrilled to extend our legacy in helping others understand and use this important language today," Feinstein said in the release. "Arabic is the third-most-spoken language in the world, used by about 490 million people, which speaks to the importance of the Flagship program."