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Program in Islamic, Turkish, & Near Eastern Studies

Program in Islamic, Turkish, & Near Eastern Studies

A program directed by Professor Tahir Shad


The Program in Islamic, Turkish, and Near Eastern Studies focuses on Islam and its contributions to social, cultural, and political developments in the Middle East, as well as on Islamic Relations with members of Christians/Muslims.

Under the Institute of Religion, Politics, and Culture this is program directed by Dr. Tahir Shad, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies. Dr. Prud’homme consults on the work involving Christian-Muslim relations. The Program is currently sponsoring five major projects:

International Internships

The Program has established an impressive array of international internships for Washington College students in Muslim-majority countries.  We are deeply committed to the idea that public diplomacy must be nurtured among youth, and that this can only meaningfully occur if students acquire first-hand knowledge of the people and cultures of the Muslim world. To this end we have established summer experiential learning programs and internships in the following countries:

  • Indonesia- Students will support local grassroots programs in fields such as youth programs, economic development, and education. 
  • Morocco- Participants will be placed with grassroots NGOs or schools and can work in fields like health, education, community development, and environmental conservation. 
  • Zanzibar-Students will support local grassroots programs in fields such as youth programs, economic development, and education. 

Turkey, Bangladesh, Tajikistan (administered jointly with The College of New Jersey, to commence in 2014)

Non-Profit Partnerships 

In furtherance of its commitment to nurturing public diplomacy, the Program works closely with the Center for Creative Learning (CCL) and its strategic initiative, America’s Unofficial Ambassadors. AUA is a citizen diplomacy initiative designed to increase people-to-people interaction through increasing the number of Americans who volunteer on a short-term basis in Africa and the Middle East. Unofficial Ambassadors support local human development and act as positive examples, endeavoring to create partnerships that dispel stereotypes and suspicion across culture.


Summer Term Program

Every two years, the Program in Islamic, Turkish, and Near Eastern Studies sponsors a Summer Term course, held in Morocco. 


International Conference

Each year, the Program convenes a major international conference. The annual conference is designed to address, in depth, important topics relating to Islam, the Middle East, and the Near Eastern world. The conference brings together top undergraduate and graduate students, as well as leading faculty from around the world. In partnership with the Peter Lang academic press, the proceedings are published for international distribution. The Program partners with a number of international universities, including: St. Anthony College of the University of Oxford, Regent’s Park College of the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, the American University of Cairo, Bogazici Univerisity in Turkey, Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, Gadjah Mada Univeristy in Indonesia, and Lasalle University in Manila; domestic partners include  The College of New Jersey and the University of Delaware.  A distinguished Board of Scholars advises the Program and helps to set the theme and to select the participants for each conference. 


Visiting and Exchange Faculty and Guest Speakers


The Program is strongly committed to establishing an international network of like-minded scholars. The network serves as the fulcrum that organizes a range of scholars to deliver lectures, carry our seminars, and engage in collaborative research as part of the Program’s book series.

To date, the Visiting Scholars and Guest Speakers at Washington College have included:

  • Pervez Musharraf, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
  • Poppy Gadjah of the University of Indonesia

Future Speakers:

  • Gary Ador Dionisio of Lasalle University in Manila