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December 5, 2016

NU and QFI Partner to Support Local Arabic Educators


Qatar Foundation International (QFI) and Northwestern's Middle East and North African Studies Program (MENA) are partnering to expand the Chicago Arabic Teachers’ Council. Since 2012, QFI has supported Arabic Teachers’ Councils in major metropolitan areas: Washington DC, Michigan, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The councils aim to strengthen local Arabic programs by providing a forum for Arabic teachers to network, collaborate, and share innovative approaches to teaching, as well as providing outreach and support to educators and their communities.
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“We are delighted to continue supporting the Chicago-area Arabic Teachers’ Council with a new partner, Northwestern University’s MENA Program.The Council has been active since 2013, and our nationwide network has reached over 1100 members,” said QFI Executive Director Maggie Mitchell Salem. “We're proud of the existing ties to Northwestern University’s Doha, Qatar campus in Education City and look forward to extending our partnership to include Northwestern’s MENA program in Chicago. We look forward to collaborating with Northwestern University and to continuing the active teacher participation of the past three years with community-driven programs.”

The Chicago Arabic Teachers’ council aims to bridge the gap between K-12 teachers’ needs and those at university level by creating a space and community within which Arabic teachers across primary, secondary, and university levels can collaborate, reinvigorate their pedagogical practices, and forge partnerships across domains.

“Arabic is taught to more than 3,000 students in Chicago Public Schools, from Volta Elementary School on the north side to Lindblom Math and Science Academy High School on the south side, a remarkable achievement in itself. Add to that the many vibrant private schools and weekend programs where Arabic is taught and Chicago has one of the most dynamic, diverse, and substantial bodies of young Arabic learners in the country,” said Brian Edwards, Crown Professor in Middle East Studies, Director of Northwestern’s MENA Program and chair of the Chicago Arabic Teachers’ Council.“As a University program committed both to Arabic language education and public outreach to the Chicago area, MENA is thrilled to have been selected to host the Chicago Arabic Teachers’ Council,”

“Language is an area where misunderstanding flourishes, and educating young Chicagoans in this beautiful, complex, and widely used global language prepares our next generation for the challenges and opportunities of the next generation,” Edwards continued. “MENA is thrilled to work with the dedicated and talented teachers from CPS and Chicago’s private and weekend schools to help facilitate the best practices and dynamic new approaches to language instruction. Together we hope to think of Arabic education as reaching from Kindergarten through elementary and high school and beyond.”

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