GW's Elliott School of International Affairs Receives $2.7 Million from Department of Education’s Title VI Program

December 11, 2014

In October 2014, two Elliott School research institutes received grants from the U.S. Department of Education for more than $2.7 million. The awards, part of the Department of Education’s Title VI program, will support the work of the Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

“The Title VI awards will significantly enhance our teaching, research, and external engagement efforts on the Middle East and Asia, two vitally important areas of the world,” said Elliott School Dean Michael E. Brown. “These grants reinforce GW’s reputation as a premier institution for area studies and foreign-language instruction. They will also advance the GW Strategic Plan, which calls for a focus on regions and countries that will play an increasingly important role in the world.”

Under the leadership of Marc Lynch, IMES director, the institute received two Title VI awards totaling more than $1.8 million. The Department of Education also designated IMES a National Resource Center for Middle East studies. The designation enables IMES to build upon its current activities that engage the broader community—including students, K-12 educators, policymakers, military veterans, journalists and the general public. One such example is a project entitled “Through Their Eyes,” in which DC-area high school artists meet with veterans and transform some of their memories and stories of service into works of art.  The project is supported by IMES, GW’s Office of Military and Veteran Student Services, and Operation GW Valor.

IMES also received a Title VI grant for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, which will allow it to offer financial support to GW students who study regional languages.

“I am thrilled that the Institute for Middle East Studies was again named a Title VI National Resource Center, and for the first time was awarded FLAS grants to support language training and regional study,” said Dr. Lynch. “The awards will allow GW to continue to build its outstanding Middle East program and to sustain its expanding language offerings in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish.”

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies also received a FLAS award.  The grant provides more than $900,000 to help advance the study of East Asia, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language study. The FLAS award, along with contributions from the Office of the Provost, will support 25 academic-year fellowships and 36 summer fellowships for students who choose to study these critical languages during the next four years. Only 16 universities were granted FLAS awards for East Asian studies in 2014.

“Having the FLAS awards is a great opportunity for us to recruit the best students and encourage them to integrate language study and area studies classes into their curriculums,” said Bruce Dickson, director of the Sigur Center. “It is getting harder and harder to find support for language study in particular, and the FLAS awards fill an important need.”

The Title VI grants underscore the importance and relevance of research at GW. So far this fiscal year, the Elliott School has received total commitments of more than $4 million in support of sponsored research.

“The U.S. Department of Education's recognition of GW's excellence in Middle East and East Asian studies reflects the longstanding strength of our faculty in these areas as well as extraordinary efforts by Professors Marc Lynch and Edward McCord that led to these highly competitive awards,” said Douglas Shaw, Elliott School associate dean for planning, research and external relations. “Title VI funding strengthens the capacity of GW and the Elliott School to provide excellent interdisciplinary education to the next generation of regional experts and makes GW an even better place to prepare for a career related to governance and policy in a globalized world.”