Bloomberg: Middlebury Interactive Languages, Qatar Foundation International Partner to Increase Pipeline of Young US Arabic Speakers

MIDDLEBURY, Vt., Jan. 25, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Middlebury Interactive Languages announced today that it received a grant from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI) to provide 13 student scholarships and travel stipends for the 2016 Arabic Summer Academy at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. The four-week immersion program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to accelerate Arabic language learning and cultural understanding utilizing principles of Middlebury College’s Language Schools’ renowned world language curriculum.

Middlebury Interactive Languages and QFI are working together to increase the pipeline of Arabic speakers in the United States. Although Arabic is the fifth most spoken world language and has been designated as a “critical language” by the U.S. Department of State, currently less than one percent of all high school students enrolled in a foreign language are studying Arabic.

“This partnership with QFI helps us in our goal of putting more students on a path to learning an important world language,” said Amy Kluber, Director, Summer Language Academies. “But it also delivers a one-of-a-kind Arabic learning experience for these deserving students and helps them create deeper connections to Arabic speakers and cultures around the world.”

The new QFI grant provides 13 full scholarships (covering tuition, room and board and travel costs) for deserving students interested in studying Arabic. To be eligible, students must qualify for financial aid and be able to continue their Arabic studies after participating in the Arabic Academy. Over the past four years, QFI has provided 46 full scholarships for students to attend the Arabic Academy.

The Arabic Academy’s faculty is composed of native and fluent Arabic speakers who have lived, worked and studied abroad and have deep connections with the Arabic language and culture. The Arabic Summer Academy’s Language Director is Khalid Madhi, who teaches Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic at Loyola University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Each student at the Arabic Academy takes the Middlebury Language Pledge™, a formal commitment to speak, read and write only in Arabic during the four-week summer program. The Academy is designed to integrate culturally authentic activities and real-world contexts into a rigorous and fun language-learning program.

A recent review of Academy showed that more than 90 percent of beginning language students gained at least one level on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) performance scale, which is roughly equal to a full year of traditional classroom language instruction.