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As a young institution in the 1950s, Portland State hired a number of outstanding faculty members with expertise in the Middle East and has continued to pursue excellence in matters relating to the Middle East. The Middle East Studies Center started in 1959 as the first federally supported undergraduate program for Arabic language and Middle East area Studies in the nation.

Portland State’s strength in Middle East Studies is a central element of the University’s larger vision for comprehensive internationalization, which integrates scholarship, teaching and service activities both on campus and in the local and global community. In concert with University President Wim Wiewel’s goals, the Middle East Studies Center is leading University-wide efforts to:

  • Develop research, teaching, and community partnerships that are globally significant and regionally focused;
  • Acknowledge the powerful global role and responsibility that public urban universities have in the internationalization of higher education and the sustainable development of urban life, at home and around the world; and
  • Recognize the interdependent relationship between campus and community as a priority for Portland State as a premier urban academic institution focused on both engagement and research.