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Four SAS International Centers: Renewed Federal Funding
February 6, 2007, Volume 53, No. 21

Four international centers in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences will receive $1.5 million in federal grants this year from the U.S. Department of Education to serve as National Resource Centers (NRC) for their regions.

The four-year grants are part of a program that recognizes academic institutions for their outstanding commitment to the world’s key areas.  While SAS has received these grants since 1959, this is only the second time that these four centers—African Studies, Middle East, South Asia and East Asian Studies—have held the designation simultaneously.

“We are especially pleased that our centers received this prestigious distinction,” said Dr. Rebecca Bushnell, dean of SAS.  “It shows our continued strength in area studies and reaffirms the primacy of the arts and sciences in tying Penn to the global community. By engaging key world regions, these centers answer the call of the Penn Compact at the highest level.”

National Resource Centers are called on to foster international expertise for national security purposes and enhance citizens’ knowledge and skills for the global workplace. To receive the designation, an applicant must:

•          Teach at least one modern foreign language.
•          Provide comprehensive instruction on an area where the language is commonly used.
•          Employ scholars engaged in training and research relating to the region.
•          Provide opportunities for graduate student research.
•          Offer outreach and consultation on a local or national level.
•          Maintain a specialized library collection.

In addition to the NRC grants, three of the centers (East Asia, Middle East and South Asia) received $590,000 in Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for this academic year to support graduate training. Federal FLAS fellowships provide opportunities for intensive study of less-commonly taught languages and world areas during the academic year or the summer. They are also renewed annually until 2010.

To learn more about these international centers, visit their websites: African Studies Center, www.africa.upenn.edu; Middle East Center, http://mec.sas.upenn.edu; South Asia Center, www.southasiacenter.upenn.edu; and Center  for East Asian Studies, http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ceas.

Almanac - February 6, 2007, Volume 53, No. 21