Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Educational Opportunities in North Africa, Middle East Still Limited for Westerners

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Educational Opportunities in North Africa, Middle East Still Limited for Westerners

Article excerpt

From Dr. Gloria London cornes the disappointing news of the cancellation of yet another opportunity for learning in the Middle East. The U.S. Department of State has cancelled "Archaeology in Jordan: Cultures of the Ancient Middle East," an Institute for teachers sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The 20 teachers already selected for the program have been notified-unfortunately, this year's deadline for the several other NEH opportunities has passed. The Institute would have taken place on Jordan's Madaba Plains.

These excavations in Jordan are scheduled every two years, to allow time for scholarly publications, so there will be no such NEH Institute in 2005. As 2004 is not the first time such last-minute cancellations have occurred, there are plans to have an archaeological institute for the summer of 2005 to be conducted in the United States, possibly in Boston. To remain informed, contact Dr. London at , or continue following this column.

Privately supported opportunities will continue in Jordan and Israel this year, but the U.S. government due to "security risks" will sponsor none of them. Other opportunities have been cut, as well. The University of Oklahoma, for example, has cancelled its Study Abroad Summer in Spain for this year.

A non-governmental opportunity to see the Middle East in 2004 is offered by the twoweek Educators' Tour of Iran, led by Karima D. Alavi, director of the Dar al Islam Teachers' Institutes on Understanding and Teaching about Islam, in New Mexico. Participants will visit a centuries-old Necropolis, a Zoroastrian fire temple, mosques, and the very Grand Bazaar visited by Ibn Battuta about six centuries ago. Plans include a meeting with the Ministry of Education, and visits to theological seminaries and high schools.

This July 23 to Aug. 7 tour of ancient Persian and modern Iranian sites is limited to 20 participants. For additional information, contact Karima Alavi at .

Educational Travel to Libya?

Recent statements made by Col. Muammar Qaddafi, as well as some by various U.S. government officials, indicate there soon may be possibilities for educational pursuits in Libya, which, following the lifting of sanctions, is seeking to rejoin the international community. Tour companies are advertising already, and it is only a matter of time, it is said, before educational opportunities will appear.

While some of the best of Roman ruins, and spectacular desert scenery, have a claim on the wanderer's summers, any American institution which plans to offer study abroad, or other such programs, will have a great deal of planning to do. The State Department has issued a travel warning for Libya, and getting a visa may take a long time: at present, there is no Libyan Embassy or consulate in the United States, and the nearest one is in Ottawa, Canada, (613) 230-0919. Depending on exchange rates, the fee should be around $76. Once in Libya, money may be a problem for those accustomed to using automatic teller machines. In many countries, these ATMs give the very best exchange rates. Current U.S. policy, however, is to forbid the use of U.S.-issued credit cards in Libya. Travel via American-owned airline companies is prohibited, too.

In addition, Libya has not had much recent practice in providing for the Western visitor. Hotels and other amenities remain, shall we say, "rudimentary."

Fulbright Scholar Grants

The competition for the 2005-2006 round of Fulbright Scholar grants has opened, with an application deadline of Aug. 1, 2004. If you have requested materials already, they are on their way to you. …

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