The Arab World Studies Program is purposefully housed in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and more specifically in the Department of Sociology to offer a more comprehensive view of the Arab world. This approach takes into consideration the organization of everyday life, literature, film, religion, gender, and history of the region as topics of interest in their own right.
Arab World Studies is able to do this by benefiting from the expertise on the region available across AU’s campus starting with CAS, and moving to the School of International Service, the School of Public Affairs, and finally reaching the School of Communications. Drawing together such a wide spectrum of courses and expertise affords students the ability to learn about the Arab world wherever their starting point may be. Whether they are interested in foreign affairs, emergent markets, human rights, understanding their heritage, or simply wanting to learn about this region of the world, the program encourages students to go beyond their original scope.
Students quickly learn that the Arab world is not monolithic and yet not a false construct. The Arab world exists and is recognizable despite the variations across the region in terms of economics, quality of living, topography, and levels of stability. At the very core, the Arab League represents the Arab world through its membership of twenty-two countries stretching across the Mediterranean, to the Arabian Peninsula, and down to the North Africa. Population figures as of 2010 estimate that there are over 350,000,000 Arabs with almost half under the age of 24. The region has countries with some of the highest quality of life standards and others with some of the lowest. Historically, the region has been studied through a single lens of gender, international relations, or oil, which made the region coherent and perhaps manageable, albeit often at the cost of thorough understanding.
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