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2007.10.01 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

First-Ever Arabic Classes at UNO See Waiting List

Omaha - For the first time at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), undergraduate students can learn Arabic, a language spoken in more than 20 countries by an estimated 180 to 400 million people.

The course reached its 25-student capacity this fall, with additional students on a waiting list for the spring 2008 semester.

A grant from the U.S. Department of State is funding the course for one year, said Tom Gouttierre, dean of international studies and programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at UNO.

Hussam Atef, a Jordanian graduate student, is teaching the course during the fall and spring semesters. Atef is enrolled in graduate-level courses while at UNO through MALT, the Master of Arts in Language teaching program offered by the Department of Foreign Languages in conjunction with faculty members from the Department of English and the College of Education at UNO.

Atef is at UNO until next year through the Fulbright Program. Established in 1946 by Congress, the Fulbright Program is the largest international exchange program in the United States. It offers opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

“There’s a major interest worldwide in languages other than those traditionally studied on university campuses,” Gouttierre said. “The events of 9/11 certainly heightened an interest in different languages on campuses, as well.”

In addition to Arabic being an official language in a wide range of countries, it is also an official language of international organizations such as the African Union, the Arabic League and the United Nations.

Call (402) 554-2762 for more information.

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