UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies has been awarded a grant for a redesign of its curriculum, according to a university press release Friday.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, an organization which works to promote the humanities and arts, awarded the center a two-year grant of $350,000 to support a pilot program aimed at restructuring how Middle Eastern Studies are taught at UCLA.
According to the press release, the grant will fund workshops and research groups. It will also endow a conference to inform community colleges, high schools and the public on the development of new curricula and teaching models on the Middle East and North Africa.
Ali Behdad, the center's current director and an English professor, previously oversaw a similar redesign of the UCLA English department while serving as its former chair. This earlier restructuring process, also funded by the Mellon Foundation, led to the development of new, interdisciplinary courses.
In the press release, Behdad said the redesign plans to help create a better understanding of the region at a time when government funding for Middle East programs is decreasing.
The redesign will involve UCLA faculty and graduate students, leaders of Middle Eastern centers at other institutions, and nonacademic members of the Middle Eastern and North African communities in Los Angeles.