Georgia Tech to Offer Hebrew, Swahili Courses to Deepen Africa, Middle East Ties

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Georgia Tech is set to add Hebrew and Swahili courses for the first time during the fall 2020 semester as it continues to broaden its language offerings to deepen students’ global engagement.  

The Atlanta Global Studies Center, a resource center jointly operated by Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, is helping underpin a broad array of applied language courses in line with its mission, funded by a $2.25 million U.S. Department of Education grant.  

The center aims to provide more intercultural opportunities for students in Atlanta while also building skill sets in some of the 60 non-Western languages deemed critical by the U.S. Department of Defense 

While the courses are introductory, professors hope they will inspire students toward further study and work in multilateral organizations focused on the Middle East and Africa. The center is committed to furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. More advanced courses in both languages are expected to come later. Swahili comes as the U.S. has recently opened negotiations on a free trade agreement with Kenya, one of the East African countries where the language is most widely spoken.

“Enhancing global competence and cross-cultural understanding are core priorities of the School of Modern Languages. By adding Hebrew and Swahili, we are strengthening our efforts in Middle Eastern and North African Studies and applied language learning to serve all Georgia Tech students, regardless of major,” said Anna Westerstahl Stenport, professor of Global Studies and chair in Georgia Tech’s School of Modern Languages and founding co-director of the Atlanta Global Studies Center (AGSC). 

Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera said offering an array of languages is part of building global citizens who will help “improve the human condition” globally.

“It is also yet another way we are supporting Atlanta as an international hub and contributing to the state’s economic development efforts,” he said in the release, which can be read in full here.

Studnets can register for the courses Aug. 1-21 at Georgia Tech, and they may be open to some students of other area universities via a cross-registration program run by the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education.

For more information, contact Sebnem Ozkan, associate director of AGSC, at sebnem.ozkan@gatech.edu or Mirla González, assistant director of undergraduate studies, online and professional education at the School of Modern Languages, at mgonzalez96@gatech.edu. 

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