A highly regarded overseas immersion program for advanced speakers of Arabic that had been funded by the American government since 1967 did not win a federal grant this year, casting its long-term future into question.
For many in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, participation in the yearlong Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) program is a rite of passage. The program, which is run by a consortium of 27 U.S. colleges and universities, largely attracts recent college graduates and graduate students looking to move from advanced to superior level of Arabic language proficiency. It was historically located at the American University of Cairo, and in the early part of the 2000s operated in a second location in Damascus before the events of the Arab Spring and the start of the Syrian civil war put an end to that. This year's fellows are studying at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan, due to ongoing safety concerns in Egypt.
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