Middlebury Interactive Languages, Qatar Foundation International Partner to Increase Pipeline of Arabic Speakers in U.S.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Celebrating National Foreign Language Week, Middlebury Interactive Languages™ announced today that it has received a grant from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI) to provide up to 16 student scholarships for the 2017 Arabic Summer Academy at St. Michaels College in Burlington, VT. The four-week immersion program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to accelerate Arabic language learning and cultural understanding utilizing principles of Middlebury College’s Language Schools’ renowned world language curriculum.

Middlebury Interactive Languages and QFI are working together to increase the pipeline of Arabic speakers in the United States. Although Arabic is the fifth most spoken world language and has been designated as a “critical language” by the U.S. Department of State, currently less than one percent of all high school students enrolled in a foreign language is studying Arabic.

“Today, more than ever, it is critical for more American students to learn a new language and increase exposure to authentic cultural experiences,” said Amy Kluber, Director, Summer Language Academies. “The academy delivers a one-of-a-kind Arabic learning experience for these students and helps them create deeper connections to Arabic speakers and cultures around the world.”

The new QFI grant provides funding for 16 scholarships (eight full scholarships and travel expenses, eight partial scholarships) for deserving students interested in studying Arabic. To be eligible, students must qualify for financial aid and be able to continue their Arabic studies after participating in the Arabic Academy. Over the past five years, QFI has provided nearly 91 scholarships for students to attend the Arabic Academy.

“We are proud to enter our sixth year of partnership with Middlebury Interactive Languages and provide young people who might not otherwise be able to access an immersive Arabic language experience the opportunity to do so in a beautiful setting,” said Maggie Mitchell Salem, QFI’s Executive Director. “Young Americans need to compete globally and it is increasingly important that they have the global competency – including the language and cultural skills to do so.”

The Arabic Academy’s faculty is composed of native and fluent Arabic speakers who have lived, worked, and studied abroad and have deep connections with the Arabic language and culture. The Arabic Summer Academy’s Language Director is Khalid Madhi, who teaches Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic at Loyola University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Each student at the Arabic Academy takes the Middlebury Language Pledge®, a formal commitment to speak, read, and write only in Arabic during the four-week summer program. The Academy is designed to integrate culturally authentic activities and real-world contexts into a rigorous and fun language-learning program. A recent review of Academy showed that more than 90 percent of beginning language students gained at least one level on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) performance scale, which is roughly equal to a full year of traditional classroom language instruction.

Students with financial need are encouraged to apply before the April 10 deadline. To request QFI scholarship forms to apply for the Arabic Academy, which runs from June 25 to July 21, 2017, please visit the QFI page on our website to download the application and send it to Academies@middleburyinteractive.com.

About Qatar Foundation International

Qatar Foundation International (QFI), LLC, is a U.S.-based member of Qatar Foundation (QF). QFI operates as both a grant-making organization, and a convener of thought leaders on issues related to global and international education, open education and education technologies as they intersect with the three core QFI programmatic areas: Arabic language and Arab culture, STE{A}M (STEM plus the Arts), and Youth Engagement. QFI inspires meaningful connections to the Arab world by creating a global community of diverse learners and educators and connecting them through effective and collaborative learning environments —inside and outside the classroom. Through our activities, QFI is committed to providing K-12 students in Qatar, the Americas, and the United Kingdom (UK) with the intellectual, communicative, and cultural competencies that will enable them to be engaged global citizens. Learn more at qfi.org.

About Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages is an academic leader in K-12 language instruction with engaging world language courses in Spanish, Chinese, French, German and Latin and an innovative online curriculum for English Language Learners. Middlebury Interactive provides access to superior language programs and helps prepare students with the skills and cultural understanding to compete in the 21st century global marketplace. Middlebury Interactive has taken Middlebury College’s renowned world language curriculum, developed and refined over the past 100 years, and translated it to the digital and K-12 setting. Middlebury Interactive also offers in-person language immersion summer academies for middle and high school students in the U.S. and abroad. Middlebury Interactive Languages is now part of K12 Inc.

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Middlebury Interactive Languages
Cort Boulanger, 339-222-2442
K12 Inc.
Donna Savarese, 703-436-3273

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