Middle Eastern and South Asian communities in California, the U.S.A., and in the world face a watershed moment.
Watersheds are turning points, full of possibilities and critical choices.
ME/SA communities are under enormous pressure, as is evident in the media (mis) representation of Islam, Hinduism, Muslims, Arabs, Iranians, Pakistanis, Indians and others of this region. Fears have escalated because of the ongoing concerns about terrorism, wars, nuclearization, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption, and repression.
ME/SA communities, however, are full of promise and possibilities as is evident in the civilization achievements, the ambitions of ME/SA youth, the democracy movements, the transformation of women’s status, the exciting commercial developments, the advance of education, the large numbers of peoples around the world curious about and interested in ME/SA cultures and histories, and the increasing numbers of heritage populations who want to know about and contribute to the lands of their forefathers and foremothers.
We can do this by offering our youth and our communities access to languages, courses, degrees, visiting scholars, travel, research, job training, and tools for the dynamic global job market. The Middle East/ South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis has the strong support of the Chancellor, Deans, faculty, students, and the community to develop Arab studies within ME/SA.
It is the right program, at the right time, in the right place. It is the time for action.