Indiana University Bloomington
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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.

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Professor Stephen Katz, Departmental Chair


We have moved! We are no longer in Goodbody Hall, our home of many years. Our office is in the east wing of the brand new Global and International Studies Building, office space 3050: take the elevator to the third floor, and we are on the right.

Our beautiful new home!

The NELC office has been busy settling into our new spaces at the Global and International Studies Building. We are thankful to our faculty and students for providing the office with wonderful decorative pieces from all over the Middle East. Come vist us and say "Marhaba"!

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a slew of cultural activities and lectures being held throughout the spring semester. Click here for a full schedule of events.

News Release

As we look back in time to the establishment of the department, we fondly remember its founder, Professor Wadie Jwaideh, who was not only an academic but also a consultant to President Carter and a globe-trotter. For more details, read the special news release on the occasion of our 50th anniversary prepared by the IU Communications Office.

Check out our Fall 2015 course listings!


The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures is excited to welcome Professor Asaad Al-Saleh as a new member of our faculty. Dr. Al-Saleh originally hails from Syria, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Damascus, obtained an MA in English at Emporia State University in Kansas and his PhD in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Arkansas.

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Upcoming Events

The fourteenth annual Wadie Jwaideh Memorial Lecture will be presented by Dr. Dina Khoury, Professor of History and International Relations at George Washington University. The Wadie Jwaideh Memorial Lecture will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2015 in the President's Room in the University Club at the Indiana Memorial Union at 7:00pm. A light reception will follow the lecture. Open to the public.

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