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The Swahili Language

Swahili, often referred to as Kiswahili, is the national language of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the lingua franca for as many as 150 million people in Central and East Africa. It is also one of the official languages of the African Union and the East African Community. For centuries, Swahili has been a key language of trade and culture across East Africa and continues today to be the key language for some of the fastest growing countries in the world. Today African languages, especially regional languages like Swahili, are more in demand than ever before as international businesses look to expand into the African market.

East Africa is a region renowned for its stunning natural beauty, friendly people, and its diverse languages and cultures. The CLS Swahili program offers a chance to get a foothold into this region and the opportunity to communicate with people across a broad spectrum of countries and cultures.

Previous Institutes

Featured Alumni Profiles

Troy Spier
Swahili 2017
Arusha, Tanzania
Sabrina Hassan
Swahili 2016
Arusha, Tanzania
Simone Yuille
Swahili 2018
Arusha, Tanzania

Swahili Stories

2020 Finalists and Alternates

Congratulations to the finalists and alternates for the 2020 CLS Program, representing students from 306 institutions across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico! Although the summer 2020 program has been suspended, we applaud the commitment of the students who prepared...

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Posted May 01, 2020


Alyssa Harvie

Alyssa Harvie is an alumna of the 2019 CLS Swahili program in Arusha, Tanzania. She’s a recent graduate of American University, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and now works at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, pursuing a career in African affairs and human...

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Posted April 29, 2020