Middle Eastern Studies Master’s student, Ian Vander Meulen, recently authored an article entitled, “Beyond the Melting Pot,” in the winter 2012 issue of online magazine Symphony [americanorchestra.org]. The article features composers of Middle Eastern descent who work elements of Eastern musical traditions into their compositions for Western-based orchestras. The article highlights the technique with which Middle Eastern composers and musicians in the United States use their orchestral programming to build cultural bridges within wider communities. Anna Taylor will present her research paper, “Web 2.0: Iran’s Response to the 2009 Elections,” at the 16th Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Graduate Student Association Symposium Annual Symposium at the University of Toronto. March 5-6, 2012. The symposium provides graduate students an opportunity to share original research with the scholarly community in a conference-like forum, the proceedings of which are periodically published. All the submissions were initially reviewed by a blind panel of nine reviewers and after each proposal was ranked in accordance with various criteria, the organizing committee drafted a preliminary programme that will be solidified upon the verification of each acceptance letter.
The Master’s Program in Middle Eastern Studies was established in Fall 2008. So far, 40 percent of our alumni have applied or plan to apply to PhD programs and other professional schools. The remaining graduates (60%) have entered the workplace or continued employment in their jobs. These include university administration, non-profit for human rights as well as international affairs and teaching.
For example, our first alumna was Suad Mohamed. She has continued to teach Arabic, but her degree in Middle Eastern Studies has allowed her to teach undergrad and even graduate courses that include media content. And of course, the MA demands a higher remuneration. Arthur B. Starr is now Program Coordinator at The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University. Avishan Bodjnoud found a full-time job at the UN as an IT professional half way through her studies at the Graduate Center. She already had a Master’s in IT from Iran; still she completed the MA-MES program taking one course per semester. She says, “The MA-MES degree has opened many doors for me.” Now that her degree has been approved by UN HR office, she plans to apply for posts that require a background in social science and the Middle East.Bret Nelson started the program with a MA in Political Science. His expertise on the Middle East helped him find a job at Freedom House.