With the exception of several semesters following events in Egypt in the summer of 2013, the CASA program has continued to function at AUC since the 1960s without interruption. The program is widely recognized as the world’s premier, full-immersion Arabic-language program. Today, CASA alumni occupy senior academic positions around the world, pursue careers at the U.S. Department of State and hold leading roles in international nongovernmental organizations. They have defined U.S.-Middle East relations for the last half century through their work in the U.S. Department of State, academic institutions and the private sector.
HIGHLY SELECTIVE FOR TOP STUDENTS
The CASA program’s goal, from its inception and until today, is to give advanced U.S. students of the Middle East and Arab world the opportunity to bring their Arabic-language skills to the point of near-native fluency. They apply their language fluency to academic and research endeavors, enabling them to function effectively in the living- language environment of the Arab world. CASA adopts a content-based instruction curriculum that promotes integration of four language skills. In doing so, students use and interact with different language varieties in their appropriate contexts and as used in the real world by native speakers. The curriculum also provides an opportunity for community engagement, allowing students to immerse themselves in Egyptian society and practice their Arabic. CASA classes are student-centered and include discussions, essay assignments and interactions outside of class.
CASA faculty members come from the Department of Arabic Language Instruction, which offers some of AUC’s oldest and most prominent Arabic programs. CASA instructors are innovative and highly qualified, with decades of experience in teaching Arabic at advanced levels.
Every year, a group ranging in size from 20 to as many as 100 students, depending upon available funding, participates in CASA’s full-year flagship program in Cairo. Application to the program is open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and is for advanced students of Arabic only. As a result, admission is extremely competitive, and it is rare that a student who has not completed at least three years of formal instruction in Arabic succeeds in meeting the program’s qualification standards. Preference in the selection process has always been given to graduate students actively pursuing academic degrees in any discipline within fields related directly to the Middle East.
The CASA program provides most of its students with fellowships that cover tuition, support for living expenses and international air travel.
Today, the role the CASA program plays is as essential as ever. The need has never been greater for American academics, diplomats, journalists and business leaders who have full mastery of the Arabic language and in-depth understanding of the Arab world. The CASA program at AUC and in Egypt — the heart of the Arab world — makes this kind of cultural connection possible. By providing fully funded fellowships to top American students seeking to understand Arab culture in a way only possible by living and learning in Cairo, the CASA program ensures that highly talented and committed students are able to pursue their studies. Through the program, they build the bridges needed to connect our world.