August 11, 2016

CLS Capacity Building in Morocco and Oman


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[Angela Woods, CLS Program Officer, U.S. Department of State]: The Critical Language Scholarship program is a fully funded Department of State program that provides opportunities for U.S. and undergraduate students to travel overseas for 8-10 weeks for intensive language and cultural immersion experiences in priority locations.

CLS participants can study one of 14 languages in locations where these languages are widely spoken. It’s an opportunity to develop the linguistic abilities of American students as well as increase their cross-cultural understanding. Additionally, the program builds capacity for foreign institutions to teach Americans abroad. For example, the Moroccan and Omani teachers were able to adapt their Arabic teaching methods for the U.S. students.

[Driss Cherkaoui, Academic Director, Arab American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM)]: The CLS has a really huge impact in our programs and in our infrastructure. First of all in terms of humans, thanks to CLS that trained and brought some of our teachers to the United States.

[Samira Selle, Student Affairs & Marketing Director, Noor Majan Training Institute, Oman]: It has enabled us to have several teacher trainings for our staff both in Oman, but also in America and our teachers were able to meet some of the teachers from the other side, for example, from Morocco. So they could exchange best practices and exchange the experiences.

[Anne Marie Skye, Director, Arab American Language Institute in Morocco (AALIM)]: One of the really wonderful things that has come out of CLS is that the Moroccans with whom we work, our staff, our faculty, and our host families, and all the people who come in contact with the CLS students have seen the diversity of Americans and they are very surprised to find out that no we have many many ethnic and cultural and different heritages in the United States. So it gives them the opportunity to be more open about that whole part of the world and that culture. And thus will give us, we hope, a better chance at peace.

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