Arabic Program

Program Coordinator: Mohammad Salama, mrsalama@sfsu.edu

Demanding as it is, Arabic is a rewarding and enjoyable language once you begin to learn it. In addition to being a vital tool for unmediated understanding of global cultural dynamics and sociopolitical connections between the U.S., Europe and the Arab-Islamic world, Arabic is indeed one of the five official languages of the United Nations. Not only is Arabic the language of pre-Islamic poetry, the Qur’an and classical Islamic tradition and art, but Arabic is spoken in 22 countries with different dialects by millions of people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in many parts of the world including North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. San Francisco State’s commitment to Arabic not only meets our community needs, given the high percentage of Arab immigrants in the Bay Area and the pluralistic campus community where Arabic is spoken everywhere from Café Rosso to the César Chavez Student Center, but learning Arabic today satisfies universal market and career demands and fills in a significant gap in educational institutes worldwide.

The Arabic initiative for non-native, native and heritage speakers represents yet another achievement by San Francisco State University in meeting its goals of academic performance and fulfilling its keen interest in internationalizing its graduates. The Arabic Program offers a two-year course of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) comprised of first-semester Arabic, second-semester Arabic, third-semester Arabic and fourth-semester Arabic. Housed in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, the Arabic Program has grown dramatically over the past few years, offering a variety of courses on colloquial Arabic, modern Arabic literature, Qur‘anic Arabic, Arab cultural identity and Arabic literature and film. All our courses are designed to provide an integrated view of the modern Arab world and its diverse cultures.

Situated at the center of a growing University-wide initiative to establish new programs and expertise on important and in-demand fields like Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEIS) and Arab and Muslim Ethnic Diaspora (AMED), the Arabic program not only intersects with and complements such thriving programs, but also, and more specifically, addresses the value of interdisciplinarity and the widespread need for proficiency in Arabic in the United States.

Employing the latest trends and innovations in language acquisition, the Arabic program has successfully integrated curricular demands of a communicative approach to language learning with community service, resulting in the establishment of Arabic-related extracurricular activities.

Students’ enthusiasm for, and interest in, Arabic make possible the ongoing sponsorship of related initiatives such as the Community of Arabists and the Egyptian Cultural Club, where a variety of social activities and events take place regularly throughout the academic year. The Arabic program is designed with the pluralistic nature of San Francisco State University in mind and with the desire to respond to the needs of the vibrant Arab community in the Bay Area at large. Professor Mohammad Salama is the program coordinator.

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Area Studies Minors

You may also be interested in multidisciplinary minors in European StudiesMiddle East and Islamic Studies or Pacific Asian Studies.