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DATE: November 8, 2004

UM-Dearborn will partner with Al-Quds University in West Bank to improve American Studies

DEARBORN---The University of Michigan-Dearborn is one of seven American universities chosen to partner with a university in the Arab world through a cooperative program of American universities supported by a federal grant.

UM-Dearborn faculty and students will work with faculty and students at Al-Quds university in the West Bank on a program titled "Connecting Jerusalem and Dearborn: Developing Collaborative American Studies Programs in the Arab World and the United States."

In Dearborn, the project will be directed by Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi, director of the campus's Center for Arab American Studies, the first such center at any American university. UM-Dearborn will receive a $100,000 grant to support the partnership.

"By focusing specifically on the discipline of American studies, the project addresses a field that has been identified by educators and students in the Arab world as one of the most important areas of study that exists today," Abdulhadi said. "It is in a field that is in the process of growing and developing at many colleges and universities throughout the region."

But the project also could enrich American studies in the United States as well, Abdulhadi said. "Here there is the potential to develop a greater emphasis on the history, experience and cultural productions of Arab American communities," she said.

Al-Quds University has a well-developed program in American studies and offers a master's degree in the field. UM-Dearborn offers an undergraduate concentration in American studies and is developing programs in Arab American studies. "These two institutions thus have the potential to establish a truly reciprocal and sustainable partnership," Abdulhadi said.

The program is part of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) through the Association Liaison Office (ALO) for University Cooperation in Development.
MEPI was founded to expand economic, political and educational opportunity for people in the Arab world through linking Arab, American and global businesses, non-governmental organizations, civic groups, and educational institutions.

ALO assists the nation's six major higher education associations help their member institutions foster cooperative development partnerships with colleges and universities abroad.

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