CLS Program News

Investigating Citizenship in the Middle East: Benjamin Smuin

Benjamin Smuin (CLS 2014 Turkish and CLS 2012 Arabic) received an Alumni Development Fund to attend the annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association in Washington, DC. Benjamin presented a paper entitled “Globalizing the Local: Speaking to the State and Acts of Citizenship in the Early Twentieth Century Middle East” which drew upon research conducted in Turkey immediately after his most recent CLS award. He utilized his background in both Turkish and Arabic to read Ottoman primary source documents for his research. Benjamin was able to receive helpful feedback on his research and additionally the process of refining his paper for the conference helped him receive a research Fulbright to Turkey.


The Alumni Development Fund in 2014 awarded funding to 65 alumni from the 2014 cohort who submitted proposals for activities to assist with their continued language learning and/or professional academic development. Priority was given to applications that incorporated or explained how their activity would have a wider impact on others (e.g. students, CLS alumni, community).

2014 ADF projects covered a wide scope of topics and activities. Some projects focused on improving the awardee’s CLS language skills in order to indirectly affect the public through the creation of language materials, improving one’s effectiveness at their workplace, and sharing their research and CLS experience at national conferences. Other projects directly impacted others, for example through the creation of an international pen-pal exchange, language tables at universities, and community events highlighting their host languages and cultures.

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