2014 IWL Film Series

301 Wilson Hall

The Institute of World Languages at UVa is hosting its 2014 International Film Series. The series will show 8 films from around the world. All films are free to attend and are subtitled in English. 

All film showings will be held in Wilson 301 on Wednesdays from 6:30-9:00pm.

Click here to download the promotional flier with the dates and times of specific films.

New Course: Beyond Headlines: Reading Persian Newspaper

New Spring 2014 course - PERS 3559/5559 - Beyond Headlines: Reading Persian Newspaper. Enroll Now!

New Course: Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia

New Spring 2014 Course - MESA 2559: Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia: An Anthropological Approach. Enroll Now!

New Course: Media, Religion, and Nationalism in South Asia

New course for Spring 2014 - SAST 2559: Media, Religion, and Nationalism in South Asia. Enroll Now!

UN World Arabic Language Day

Today is recognized by the United Nations as World Arabic Language Day. Click here to learn more!

New J-Term Course: Americans in the Middle East


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to comb through government documents at the National Archives? Or to read the letters of spies, diplomats and even presidents at the Library of Congress? Then spend your winter break in DC in this January Term course. We read a history of American missionaries, soldiers, spies, oil industry executives and diplomats who have forged a long and complicated relationship with the Middle East. Then we dive into the archives to learn the real story behind their motives, their successes, and their mistakes.
We will spend 9 days – Jan. 2 to 10 - in Washington DC in intensive engagement with past and current actors who have shaped our policy, for good and bad, in the region. Interested? Contact ASAP Prof. Elizabeth F. Thompson in the history


UVA Launches Institute of World Languages

The University of Virginia recently kicked off its latest in a series of interdisciplinary programs with the official opening of the Institute of World Languages.

The institute brings together foreign language programs across Grounds to look at best practices in teaching and to take on collaborative research projects with other departments.

For example, administrators are hoping to offer classes in the future combining advanced foreign language instruction with topics in medicine, business or research. Cristina Della Coletta, associate dean for the arts and humanities, used the example of a class about international borders taught in Spanish.

“Language activities cannot be kept intramuros, within four walls,” Coletta said at the opening symposium for the institute.

“We want to provide bridges among our solid departmental homes.”

The university has been encouraging more collaboration between departments, including the establishment of the Big Data Institute, which examines the ethical considerations and practical uses of large-scale data collection. New academic programs incorporate statistics into traditionally “soft” sciences such as sociology. A new Ph.D. program in the School of Architecture includes coursework on social policy and ecology.

The Institute of World Languages also has partnered with Duke University to provide students at both universities the opportunity to learn more obscure languages. Using teleconferencing technology, Duke students will be allowed to take UVa’s course in Tibetan, while UVa students can learn Creole from Duke instructors.

Meredith Jung-En Woo, dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, gave the opening remarks to a room full of students in foreign language courses and instructors.

Woo said foreign language study always has been fascinating to her because it forces learners out of their comfort zone, and allows them to connect with people from other cultures.

“Foreign language study forces us to be better than we attempt to be when we’re not watchful,” said Woo, a South Korea native who also has lived in Japan.

“My whole life has been a struggle to communicate with strangers.”

The opening symposium included panel discussions on innovative ways to teach foreign languages and the importance of language literacy in research and scholarly work.

Michael Geisler, a German-language professor and administrator at Middlebury College in Vermont, talked about the need to offer a variety of languages, not just the ones that are seen as “important” or “high-priority” right now. Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, there was a shortage of people fluent in Arabic; it’s hard to tell which languages will become suddenly important, he said.

At the minimum, Geisler said institutions should try to keep classes on a “strategic reserve” of the world’s 10 to 20 most important languages being offered all the time.

“You can assume that if you take a language today, somebody can come back in 20 years and take it again,” he said. “That, to me, is the litmus test.”

Scott McGinnis, professor at the Defense Language Institute, talked about federal programs to reach native speakers of certain critical languages, such as Farsi, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese.

For more information on the institute, visit

International Education Week

International Education Week (IEW) is a world-wide celebration of international education endeavors. The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education initiated IEW in 2000. The purpose of IEW is to promote and celebrate international programs and to encourage participation in them.

Students, faculty, and staff at the University engage in a variety of study abroad programs, research, collaboration, and service across the globe. All of these activities result in a knowledge exchange that enriches the community on grounds and around the world.

IEW will showcase international activities at the University through a series of events throughout the week of November 11th.

Visit the International Education Week website for more information!

A is for Arab: Stereotypes in U.S. Popular Culture

New Cabell Hall, first floor lobby

Come see the A is for Arab: Stereotypes in U.S. Popular Culture art exhibit in the New Cabell Hall first floor lobby! Presented by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute and the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University.

New Course: Love, War, and Exile in Hoda Barakat's Narrative

New Course for Spring 2014 - taught by Professor Hanadi Al-Samman


ARAB 4559/8559

Love, War, and Exile in Hoda Barakat's Narrative

This course explores the intersection of love, war, and exile in the literature of a prominent Lebanese writer—Hoda Barakat.  Ms. Barakat’s reflections on the Lebanese civil war, paradigms of familial domination, and governmental authoritarianism articulate the causes of Arab citizens continued sense of alienation, and the subsequent Arab Spring’s desire for political agency.  Advanced students of Arabic will study an abridged version of Barakat’s novel, My Master and My Lover (2004; 2013), and will have a rare chance of interacting with the author in person during her one-month residency on Grounds.