Students at The University of Southern Mississippi can now experience the Middle Eastern world through new Arabic language and Middle Eastern studies courses taught by Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence Dr. Nagwa Megahed.
An assistant professor of education and Middle Eastern studies at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, Megahed is a unique addition to the department of foreign languages and literatures as its first Fulbright Scholar. She specializes in the fields of language, culture and international education.
"I was very excited to have the opportunity to promote Middle Eastern culture and the study of Arabic at Southern Miss,” said Megahed.
She will teach intermediate and advanced Arabic language courses as well as WS 490: Gender, Education, and Peace and HON 492: Middle Eastern Culture and Society during her one-year appointment at Southern Miss. These courses are open to students from all academic areas.
The Fulbright Scholar Program is a world-renowned and highly prestigious international exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. At its core, the program seeks to foster mutual understanding and international partnership between U.S. institutions and participating nations.
“I look forward to the opportunity to interact with a multicultural society and exchange learning experiences with faculty, students and the surrounding community."
Currently, Southern Miss stands alone as the only higher education institution in the state to offer Arabic language courses. According to the Modern Language Association, there has been a sharp increase in the number of American students studying Middle Eastern languages in recent years.
For Dr. Leah Fonder-Solano, chair of the department of foreign languages and literatures at Southern Miss, studying Arabic is crucial to increasing Americans’ understanding of and ability to interact productively with communities throughout the Middle East.
“Arabic language study is a natural fit with Southern Miss due to close ties with military bases in the region, established academic programs in related areas, commitment to international study and a vibrant Muslim community,” said Solano.
The Arabic program equips students with valuable language skills and cross-cultural awareness. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a minor in the language.
“Last year, we had a student study abroad in Alexandria, Egypt, after studying Arabic for only one year,” said Solano. “He is coming back to Southern Miss this fall to complete an Arabic minor. With Megahed joining our ranks, I hope to see more Southern Miss students taking advantage of this opportunity.”
Students can enroll in Arabic 101 and 102 on the Gulf Coast and Hattiesburg campus. Classes meet Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
For a full listing of Arabic language course descriptions, times and locations, contact Gayle Anderson at 601.266.4964 or log onto SOAR and search under "ARA."
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.