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Learning to Speak Persian

CSUF offers intensive Persian studies program beginning this summer

April 2, 2007

By Mimi Ko Cruz

As part of a California State University Strategic Language Initiative, Cal State Fullerton kicks off an immersion program in Persian. The program begins with an intensive, six-week summer program followed by additional courses in the fall.

Applicants have until April 20 to apply for the Intensive Immersion Language Program. Those admitted will receive scholarship support that will cover virtually all expenses.

The program begins with an intensive summer course that will meet all-day Monday through Friday from June 25 through Aug. 3. Program participants will receive college credits and free campus housing. They will be introduced to Persian meals, cultural activities and entertainment.

During the academic year following the summer course, students will be offered more Persian studies classes. The program will culminate in summer 2008 with a study abroad project. Expenses — including books, travel, field trips and room and board — will be paid for through scholarships.

The California State University Strategic Language Initiative was designed to teach Persian, Arabic, Korean and Chinese so Americans can work more effectively with the citizens of countries where those languages are spoken.

Other campuses participating in the Strategic Language Initiative are Cal State Long Beach, which will teach Chinese; Cal State San Bernardino, Arabic; Cal State Los Angeles, Korean; and Cal State Northridge, Russian.

“We are one of the few universities in the country to provide summer intensive courses in Persian,” said Ghazzal Dabiri, director of Cal State Fullerton’s Persian studies. “It is a great opportunity for students who wish to become more familiar with Persian language and culture since the program is free and they will be immersed in the language and culture while enjoying Southern California.”

Cal State Fullerton has been offering classes in Persian for several years but the intensive summer course is designed for those who wish to learn the language more rapidly.

Global situations in the past few years have highlighted the critical need for expertise in the “strategic languages,” Dabiri said. For that reason, the U.S. departments of Defense and State have called for collaborative efforts to fill critical shortfalls in speakers of Persian, Korean, Arabic and Chinese. The languages chosen as “strategic” are those that are critical not just for national security, diplomacy, intelligence-gathering and international business, but also for developing deeper levels of cross-cultural understanding.

To apply for the program, call Dabiri at 657-278-3534 or visit
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