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Chair's Message

Welcome to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC). The department was founded half a century ago, making it one of the oldest such departments in the nation. Its founding father was Professor Wadie Elias Jwaideh, a native of Iraq and an expert on the modern history of the Kurds who joined the faculty of IU in 1960. He served as chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures with exemplary dedication for over two decades, building a department with strengths in Arabic language and linguistics, Hebrew and Jewish studies, and Middle Eastern and Islamic history, culture, and religions. We are thus justifiably proud of belonging to one of the oldest and most venerable departments of its kind in the nation.

The members of the NELC faculty have been trained at top universities, have studied and done research in countries all over the Middle East and Islamic world, and among them have published dozens of books and innumerable articles. In addition, NELC students have access to professors affiliated with NELC or working related areas in departments such as History, Jewish Studies, Political Science, Religious Studies, Central Eurasian Studies, Anthropology, and Ethnomusicology, as well as the professional schools.

NELC has strengths in Arabic literature and linguistics, classical and modern Islam, Middle Eastern history and politics, and Jewish and Israeli culture and literature. The language program includes five years of modern standard Arabic, as well as Hebrew language and literature and ancient Egyptian language and literature. Courses in Persian and Turkish, offered through the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, also satisfy NELC language requirements, as do new courses in Kurdish.

Graduates from the master's and doctoral programs enter careers in universities, the Foreign Service, public and business administration, as well as other fields.

We hope that you will find NELC an exciting and intellectually challenging home for your studies at Indiana University.

Professor Stephen Katz, Departmental Chair

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