Georgetown received $5.6 million in Title VI funding from the Department of Education for three of the School of Foreign Service National Resource Centers and the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships.

In late August, the SFS NRC on East Asian Studies, the NRC on the Middle East and the NRC for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies each received National Resource Center funding, which focuses on teaching, research and community outreach. Along with the NRC funding, each center received money for fellowships for graduate students studying in those areas through FLAS.

“We are extremely impressed and excited because these grants are extremely hard to get and very distinguished,” said Carol Lancaster, dean of the SFS said.

Competing against several national universities, Georgetown was one of 46 universities overall to receive the grant money. Title VI distributed over $138,316,750 to universities such as Harvard, Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, over the next four years. The grants will be evaluated again in 2013.

For first-time applicant Victor Cha, current director of Georgetown’s NRC for East Asian Studies, receiving the grant on the first try was a great accomplishment.

“I think we won it on the potential we displayed, the seriousness of our proposal and the strength of our faculty and students,” he said.

“It’s not that often as far as I know that a first-time proposal gets approved. This will give a great boost to the East Asian Studies department,” Lancaster said.

With the grant and fellowship money, Cha plans to fund four FLAS fellowships for grad students and field an average of six to seven new courses each year on Asia that focus on Chinese language classes, business in Asia and health issues in Asia.

Cha is also planning an outreach program for the Washington, D.C. area, Northern Virginia and Maryland K-12 schools and community colleges by sending speakers and holding essay contests to raise awareness about Asian issues. A plan for a new research initiative on public health in Asia and faculty grants for research and resources to library is also in the works.

The NRC on the Middle East, which has been an NRC since 1997, will expand language offerings in Persian and Turkish, offer professional development programs for K-12 teachers and host a series of conferences. One such conference is focused on refugee health in the Arab World in conjunction with other Georgetown departments.

CERES, which has been an NRC since 2000, will now offer K-12 programs targeting underserved school districts in the metropolitan area. The grants will also allow them to broaden course offerings on Central Asia and the Caucasus and offer advanced Persian language courses at Georgetown. They also plan to host several major international conferences and support fellowships with their FLAS funding. The Latin America NRC at Georgetown did not receive a renewal of its NRC status and funding. Dean Lancaster said the program would be re-examining its proposal.

“These grants strengthen programs that are already distinguished,” Lancaster added. “It allows us to engage the community in ways we may not be able to otherwise … It benefits the students, and it makes the [SFS] even stronger than it was three weeks ago.”

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