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Washington Semester Program - Middle East & World Affairs

Middle East & World Affairs Program participants visit Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, which features ancient Christian and Islamic art and architecture

Today Islam is a topic that many speak about and few understand. As a student in our Washington Semester The Middle East & World Affairs Program, you'll have the opportunity to learn all about Islam; including issues that Muslims are currently facing and the relationship between Islam and international politics. You'll analyze current challenges and concerns to the Muslim community, such as the war on terrorism and American promotion of democracy in the Middle East.

As a part of the program, you'll meet weekly with activists, religious leaders, ambassadors, and other respected figures to gain valuable firsthand insight into the Muslim approach to peace building, human rights, conflict resolution, development, economics, social justice, interfaith coexistence, and more. During your seminars, you'll be able to ask the tough questions of leading experts and gain invaluable knowledge from experienced professionals. In addition to our prominent guest speakers and off-campus seminars, you'll work at an internship for two days a week. We'll work with you to find an internship that will develop and support your career and/or academic goals. In The Middle East & World Affairs Program, we've found that our students excel at internships with interfaith organizations, foreign embassies, Muslim institutions, and Congress.

In the Washington Semester’s The Middle East & World Affairs Program, you'll have the ability to obtain the most out of your academic experience with an overseas practicum. You'll experience Muslim life overseas by traveling to one or two Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East during the semester. Past travel included study in countries of the Mediterranean basin, particularly Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. With the knowledge and experience you'll gain as a part of our program, abroad and in DC, you'll emerge with a true understanding of the complex dynamics that shape Islam. Students who choose the non-travel option will engage in service learning and/or special research and study projects carefully designed with their professor to enhance their academic knowledge and professional experience.

Please note that these program descriptions are proposed plans of activities. Specific travel itineraries and venues are subject to change.

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Student Reaction

"The Islam & World Affairs Program allowed me to focus on my greatest interests. The combination of the seminar, guest speakers, overseas trip, and internship gave me a valuable and comprehensive experience I could not have found anywhere else." Sara Vakulskas, Santa Clara University

Past Speakers Include... 

  • Dennis Kucinich, Congressman
  • Yasser El-Naggar, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Egypt
  • Amb. Gaafar Allaganey, Saudi Arabian Representative to the U.N.
  • Stephen Grand, Brookings Institution
  • Emre Celik, President, Rumi Forum

Past Internship Sites

  • Muslim Public Affairs Council
  • Middle East Policy Council
  • Arab American Institute
  • Amideast
  • U.S. Department of State

Past Seminar Topics

  • Reconciling Islam and Democracy
  • Muslim Perceptions of the U.S.
  • Arab-Israeli Peacemaking
  • Peaceful Interpretations of Jihad
  • Non-Violence and Arab Spring