MESC Administration and Mission
The Middle East Studies Center (MESC) is a US Department of Education Undergraduate Title VI National Resource Center (NRC). Since its designation as a National Resource Center in 1988, it has been consistently renewed in the 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2005 cycles, for a total of 19 years.
Alam Payind, Director
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Melinda Wightman, Assistant Director
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Cory Driver, Outreach Coordinator
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Jennifer Swain, Administrative Associate
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The principal reason for the establishment of international and regional programs at the Ohio State University since the post World War II era has been to realize the bold vision of creating future leaders and experts with the ability to deal with the challenges of the 20th century and the new millenium. As one of the pioneering Title VI National Resource Centers, the Middle East Studies Center (MESC) at the Ohio State University continues to play a major role in the realization of that vision by contributing to the enrichment of the intellectual environment at The Ohio State University. The Center will continue to provide opportunities for faculty, undergraduate and graduate students to pursue their academic objectives and contribute to the body of knowledge about the Middle East. The need for knowledge and understanding about other peoples and cultures has never been more pressing.
Mission and goals:
The mission of the Center is to foster and generate knowledge of the Middle East, its past and current economic, social and political developments, and to promote teaching, learning, research and public awareness of the diverse array of Middle Eastern languages, cultures, and peoples. As a part of that mission, MESC helps OSU to make knowledge accessible to the citizens of Ohio. Sharing university resources and expertise with academic communities, the general public at a variety of venues, federal and state agencies, and the media, helps the Center to make a greater impact. Impact at local, regional, national and international levels, is also a major requirement of Title VI. Outreach and engagement, providing better student resources, facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration and conducting follow-up communications and programs with our various constituencies are all essential to the Center's evaluation plan, to the University's Academic Plan, and to Title VI mandates.
These goals are achieved by funding and supporting courses, providing Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, contributing to the library, co-sponsoring faculty lines, providing instructional resources, creating linkages and fostering relationships with domestic and foreign institutions, inviting and co-sponsoring guest scholars, and numerous outreach and engagement activities, on and off campus. The Center draws on the expertise and experience of 50 faculty members from 23 departments and the library at OSU and its affiliate faculty in other Ohio and regional universities and colleges.
Strengthening the performance-based instruction of less commonly taught modern languages of the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and providing teacher training are the two highest priorities of the program at MESC. The Center helps to fund, or provides other forms of support for Arabic, Hebrew, Pashto, Persian, Somali, Turkish and Urdu instruction. In addition, the center is a member of the Eastern Consortium in Persian and Turkish in collaboration with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, New York University, Georgetown, the University of Michigan, The Univeristy of Chicago, and the University of Minnesota. A major component of the MESC teacher training program is The Institute on Middle Eastern Cultures, a 3 graduate credit hour course offered through the College of Education's Outreach and Engagement Office.