Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan)
House Subcommittee on Select Education
Dear Mr. Hoekstra,
As a concerned citizen, former recipient of Title VI language-study funds (to learn Arabic) and a lifetime professional in the field of Middle Eastern studies—I served for the past decade as director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy—I am writing in my personal capacity to commend you for authoring the International Studies in Higher Education Act (HR 3077).
This bill will go far toward fixing some of the regrettable practices that have led the field of Middle Eastern studies (and higher education in general) to lose its grounding in recent years. It will especially help those universities that wish U.S. government funding to understand that such support is not an entitlement but rather aid that carries responsibilities of its own.
I would particularly like to commend the bill's proposed creation of an advisory board "to study, monitor, apprise, and evaluate" activities under Title VI. In my view, the board should have the strongest possible powers to fulfill its responsibilities. I urge you to "fight like hell" against efforts to water down this provision.
In addition, I would also like to commend the bill for including reference to the need for "diversity" in Title VI outreach programming. It is a sad day when "alternative views" actually refer to the perspective of official U.S. policy, but at too many Title VI outreach programs, respectful, sympathetic discussion of U.S. policy is simply not welcome.
Again, please accept my congratulations and my best wishes for continued success with this bill.
Robert Satloff, D.Phil.