Courses in the MES minor introduce students to the "heritage, problems and perspectives" of Middle Eastern cultures, thus helping them to understand better their own culture. Michigan, for example, is home to the nation's largest Arab American community, half Christian, half Muslim, and there are substantial Jewish congregations.
The MES program focuses on the area stretching from Morocco in the west to Oman in the east, from Iran and Turkey in the north to Sudan in the south - a region inhabited by more than 350 million people. Not only does the history and art of this region form the basis of Western civilization, but the Middle East today is central to issues of global peace and prosperity. This area incorporates largely Muslim lands, but Christians and Jews have also made important contributions. All receive appropriate attention in this program.
Students come from anthropology, business, communications, geography, history, and international relations - indeed, from all those disciplines where there is increasing interest in the non-Western world. For example, for aspiring teachers, knowledge of Islamic civilization provides tools for understanding - and teaching about - areas far removed from the Middle East, such as South Asia, Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa. Among the many local firms with Middle East trade links, business majors who can demonstrate some understanding of regional customs, cultural practices and language, can gain advantage.
Students are encouraged to participate in the Model Arab League simulation held annually in late February and in field trips to points of cultural interest locally and in the Detroit area. Students minoring in Middle East studies must complete a minimum of 18-19 hours of course work. Normally, this includes 13 hours of core courses (including four credits of language) and six credits of electives. Students entering the university competent in Arabic at the 202 level or higher will take one additional elective course, for a total of 18 credits. No more than two courses from any department other than Middle East studies can be counted toward the minor.
Oman taken by Meagan Roche