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Portland State University is seeking donors at multiple funding levels to invest in the students and faculty who value Middle East Studies. Opportunities include sponsoring student and faculty exchange, supporting study abroad programs in the Middle East for all students, facilitating student recruitment from the Middle East, hiring additional faculty, and providing valuable funding to bring about excellence within all areas relating to Middle East Studies.

  1. Center for Middle East Studies     $5 million

    Funding will ensure the long-term sustainability of the Center, regardless of federal funding in future years. Support for the Center recognizes the value of Middle East Studies to Portland State students, the Portland community, and the international students and faculty who visit and travel to Portland State, as well as the increasingly important relationship between the United States and the Middle East.

  2. Directorship     $3 million

    The Director of the Middle East Studies Center has both a scholarly background and an administrative skill set. The Director manages a growing staff and a complex budget and engages a diverse, interdisciplinary constituency of faculty and students from across the University. Endowing the Directorship will empower the Middle East Studies Center to continue the tradition of excellence established under the distinguished leadership of previous Directors - Grant Farr, Peter Bechtold, John Damis, Jon Mandaville, and Fred Cox.

    1. Discretionary fund     $1,000 – 10,000 annually

      Annual giving focused on growing unrestricted support for the purpose of advancing the Middle East Studies Center’s mission, vision, and values supports the Director’s Discretionary Fund. Support provides critical funding necessary for the Middle East Studies Center Director to provide leadership, pursue partnerships, prepare students, and promote engagement.

  3. Events Programming     $750,000

    The Middle East Studies Center is doing a great job of supporting and sponsoring a very wide range of activities that inform the community [and] campus about the Middle East.
              - Middle East Studies Center programming evaluation respondent

    The programs I have been to have been excellent. I really appreciate your diversity of topics and types of programs.
              - Middle East Studies Center programming evaluation respondent

    The Middle East Studies Center sponsors academic lectures on a wide range of topics and supports a variety of cultural events, including musical concerts, films screenings, book readings, and much more.

    1. Lunch & Learn Series     $50,000

      The monthly responsive Lunch & Learn series provides an opportunity for participants to learn more about current events in the Middle East through informal presentations and discussions with experts in the field. These conversations provide a forum for the community to engage in thoughtful dialogue about the region, ask questions, and share their opinions. Support for this series will fund honoraria, travel, and accommodation expenses for speakers.

    2. Film Series     $100,000

      The medium of film offers incomparable insight into its subject. The Middle East Studies Center’s film series showcases the rich tradition of cinema in the Middle East and provides opportunities for audiences to view the region in new ways and to engage with potentially transformative ideas about the Middle East. Support for this series will fund the purchase of films, which will be incorporated into the Center’s Resource Library (please see below), as well as honoraria and travel and accommodation expenses for speakers.

    3. Distinguished Lecture Series     $100,000

      This endowment would allow the Middle East Studies Center to invite a prominent scholar, public intellectual, or other noteworthy figure to campus for a public talk to be scheduled annually. Support for this series will fund honoraria and travel and accommodation expenses for speakers.

    4. Public Programming     $500,000

      This endowment would support regular academic programming in Middle East Studies for the benefit of the campus and community.  The calendar could include academic conferences and workshops, public lectures, and other events. Support for this series will fund honoraria and travel and accommodation expenses for speakers and scholars, as well as publicity.

  4. Student Aid     Annual and continued support for established endowments


    From the early days as Vanport College to today as the state’s largest institution, Portland State University has remained true to its mission to provide access to an excellent education.

    Among Oregon’s public institutions, Portland State alumni graduate with the highest percentage of debt, accumulating an average burden of $26,287 upon graduation. Nearly 65% of all Portland State students graduate with debt, impacting career choice. Increased debt has resulted from decreased public support for higher education. Over the past 15 years, as enrollment has increased, state funding has decreased by more than 50%. In 1990, the state of Oregon contributed $5,511 per student; today’sbudget supports $2,740 per student. This reality, not unique to Portland State, makes private philanthropic support for our students a critical success factor that determines our ability to achieve our public education mission.

    Each year, the Center awards a trio of scholarships to support Middle East language and area Studies. The Center gratefully recognizes contributions to these scholarship funds from donors and benefactors. Support for these endowed scholarships encourage and recognize outstanding academic achievement in Middle East Studies and promote continued understanding of the many cultures in the region.

    Funds already established to support students are:

    1. The Gary & Patricia Leiser Scholarship in Middle Eastern Languages supports the study of Middle Eastern languages

    2. The Elizabeth Ducey Scholarship supports any Portland State student intending to pursue a course of study in Middle East Studies

    3. The John Damis Middle East Studies Scholarship supports undergraduate or graduate students majoring in International Studies or Political Science and focusing on the Middle East

    4. Graduate Student Travel Fund

      Gifts to this fund provide access to national and international conferences on an annual basis. Funds support travel to conferences for qualified students to present research findings and share results of graduate Studies at Portland State University. Particularly for students without the means to fund travel, and for those who wish to pursue careers in academic fields, the Graduate Student Travel Fund encourages success by supporting endeavors that will benefit the research and academic community and is a platform upon which Portland State gains national and international recognition through the activities of our student ambassadors.

  5. Support for Educators     $150,000

    What the Middle East Studies Center does is so enriching and helpful. I appreciate this continued education opportunity!

              - Middle East Studies Center workshop participant

    The Middle East Studies Center supports education about the Middle East at the K-12 level through a variety of services and activities. The Center promotes a critical understanding of the region with programs that reflect its diversity and provide insight into the histories, cultures, languages, religions, politics, and contemporary issues of the Middle East. The Center offers a wide range of tools, resources, and programs to support educators in their teaching about the Middle East. The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University is committed to supporting teaching and learning about the Middle East and to providing educators with the best tools and resources to support their teaching.

    1. Middle East Teaching Tools     $100,000

      The Middle East Studies Center has a long history of supporting teaching and learning about the Middle East through workshops and the development of teaching resources.  The Center has recently begun to digitize its existing teaching materials and develop new tools for educators that reflect the changes in the region and contemporary best practices in the field of education.  The materials are made available to educators on an Online Resource Hub.

      The Center proposes the expansion of the Online Resource Hub to serve as a national resource for teaching about the Middle East.  This website will provide a broad range of resources for students and teachers to support their teaching and learning about the region.  It will include the following, organized by country and by theme:

           * Standards based lesson plans
           * Teaching modules
           * Online toolkits and curricular resources
           * Annotated bibliographies with accompanying materials
           * Background briefings and fact sheets for educators
           * Regularly updated news reports and news sources
           * Podcasts and videos
           * Maps and images
           * Recordings from the Center’s workshops and webinars

      Support for the Online Resource Hub will fund the annual salary for Website & Design Assistant, annual wages for student assistants, annual support for marketing, including attendance at national conferences and workshops; annual professional development travel and training, annual group license for ‘Mideast Wire’ subscription (daily e-mail newsletter of translated briefs covering political, cultural, economic and opinion pieces appearing in the media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora), annual budget for image rights, audio/video recording and processing equipment and software; and annual domain and hosting costs

    2. Resource Library     $50,000

      The Middle East Studies Center has an extensive lending library of curricular materials, teaching resources, books for K-12 students, maps, posters, current and back issues of Saudi Aramco World, and DVDs on many aspects of the Middle East. Educators may borrow materials from the resource library at no cost. Support for the Resource Library will fund acquisition, preservation and access.

  6. Mandaville Library Fund     $100,000

    The Portland State University Library maintains impressive Middle East Studies holdings, including strong collections in Middle Eastern languages and special collections. Named for the former Director of the Middle East Studies Center and Professor Emeritus of Middle East History, this fund supports acquisition, preservation, and maintenance of University Library books and manuscripts, across all disciplines, related to the Middle East.

  7. Content-Based Language Instruction website     $100,000

    Portland State’s Middle East Studies curriculum includes foreign language, literature, and culture courses in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and Persian. A major course of study in Arabic and a Turkish minor are offered.  Pashto and Kurdish language instruction are offered as a part of the University’s Heritage Language Initiative.
    In March 2012, the Middle East Studies Center hosted the Western Consortium of Title vi National Resource Centers for Middle East Studies’ Spring 2012 language pedagogy workshop. The event focused on content-based instruction for Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish languages and drew on expertise from around the country as well as University resources, including Portland State’s Russian Flagship Program.  Content-based instruction is among the cutting-edge areas of research in critical and less commonly taught languages and Portland State University is well positioned to lead pedagogical initiatives in the field.  This conference has important practical consequences for a better understanding of pedagogical techniques and their application in the classroom.

    In close collaboration with Middle Eastern language faculty in the Department of World Languages & Literatures, the Middle East Studies Center is developing an online suite of interactive teaching tools for content-based instruction of Middle Eastern languages.  The website will leverage workshop content and provide resources for classroom and private study of Arabic, Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish.  The website will incorporate digital audio and video, as well as interactive text and flashcard features to provide students and teachers with the most innovative tools for second language acquisition.

  8. Faculty support     $250,000

    The Middle East Studies Center serves as the interdisciplinary hub for Middle East Studies for faculty across the Portland State University campus and affiliated scholars throughout Oregon.

    1. Travel grants     $50,000

      This endowment would support transportation and accommodation for presenting research, participating as a discussant or respondent as part of a conference panel and/or attending workshops for pedagogy or curriculum development for teaching Middle East area Studies. To support professional development, priority will be given to junior faculty.

    2. Research grants     $200,000

      This endowment would support the research of faculty and help to defray travel expenses for academic conferences.

  9. Persian Studies     $8 million

    Iran remains poorly understood in the United States today, and receives too little coverage within American higher education.  As a result, Portland State University has a historic opportunity to create a program of national distinction in Iranian Studies, encompassing the study of Iran itself—its culture, history, and politics—and its surrounding region.  Equipped with the necessary resources, the University could quickly move to the forefront of a field in which few other institutions have made significant investments.

    Main Goals

    * To create a program of national distinction, which will educate undergraduate students in the culture, history, and politics of Iran;
    * To further strengthen the curriculum in Middle East Studies, which has long served as one of the biggest international programs at Portland State;
    * To expand the international curriculum at Portland State;
    * To create a robust program of academic and cultural events, which will serve as a resource to the local community.

    Long-Range Vision

    Thanks to its existing curriculum in Persian in the department of World Languages & Literatures, Portland State University already has the necessary foundation for a larger program in Iranian Studies.  As a next step, we envision the hiring of several tenure-track scholars who work on contemporary Iran, with a specialty in the social sciences and/or public policy.  This expansion of the faculty, together with increased financial support for student scholarships and academic programming and research, would allow Iranian Studies at Portland State to attain new national and international visibility in a field in which few other universities have shown great interest.  The diverse student population at Portland State would thereby have the opportunity to deepen their liberal arts education through courses on Persian language and Iranian history, culture, and politics.

    Once the University has met its five-year goals and created a thriving program, it will be ready to consider new possibilities, including the development of a certificate program, the establishment of a minor in Iranian Studies (alongside the new minor in Persian), and the expansion of the curriculum to include a Masters degree.

    1. Growing the Program

      To meet the targets of the strategic plan, the program proposes expansion through the following steps:
      Expanding the core faculty from one to four. The current head of the program is Anousha Sedighi, Associate Professor of Persian in the department of World Languages & Literatures

      1. Social scientist of Iran, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences     $2.5 million
      2. Policy expert on Iran, College of Urban & Public Affairs     $2.5 million
      3. Social scientist of Iran, College & Liberal Arts and Sciences     $2.5 million

    2. Encouraging interest among Portland State students in Iranian Studies, including offering a certificate, possibly to be upgraded to a minor:

      1. Offering scholarships for the study of Persian     $100,000

    3. Increasing support for faculty in Iranian Studies:

      1. Support for faculty research and professional development     $50,000
      2. Support for library acquisitions in Iranian Studies and Persian materials    $100,000

    4. Creating a program of interest to the local community:

      1. Increased support for the weekend Persian language program    $20,000
      2. Support for public programming on Iran, mainly in the form of academic conferences and workshops, panel discussions, and public lectures                                                                                                   $150,000
      3. Support for an annual lecture series, which would enable the faculty to invite some prominent scholar, public intellectual, or other noteworthy figure to campus for a public talk.     $100,000

  10. Arab, Judaic, and Turkish Studies

    The Middle East Studies Center encourages support for Portland State’s Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies and the Center for Turkish Studies, as well as the Portland State University funds that support Contemporary Arab Studies.

  11. International Student Aid     $1,000 – 10,000 annually

    In light of recent and ongoing events in the region, many Portland State University international students from the Middle East face uncertainty in their capacity to pay tuition and living. The Middle East Studies Center works closely with a number of on-campus partners, including Student Affairs, International Student Life, International Student and Scholar Services, the Office of International Affairs, and the English as a Second Language Program in the Department of Applied Linguistics, to support Middle Eastern students on campus. It is clear that many of these students will require financial assistance in order to continue their Studies at Portland State. The Office of International Affairs maintains an International Student Aid fund for use in unforeseen and emergency circumstances. Support for this fund will directly aid international students in need.