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UCLA International Institute receives $8 million in federal funding

Six centers of the institute have been awarded Title VI funding for area and/or language studies at UCLA.

UCLA International Institute receives $8 million in federal funding

Photo: Kaya Mentesoglu/ UCLA.

UCLA International Institute, August 17, 2022 — Six centers of the UCLA International Institute have been awarded approximately $8 million in Title VI federal funding by the U.S. Department of Education.

The centers and the funding they received are roughly as follows: Latin American Institute ($2.2 million), the Center for Near Eastern Studies ($2.2 million), the Center for Southeast Asia Studies ($1.2 million), the Center for European and Russian Studies ($1 million), the Asia Pacific Center ($753,000) and the National Heritage Language Resource Center ($760,000).*

The funding runs for four academic years (2022–23 through 2025–26) and recognizes three of the six centers as National Resource Centers and a fourth center as a National Language Resource Center. The monies were awarded through three programs funded by Title VI of the Higher Education Act: the National Resource Center Program, the Language Resource Center Program and the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships Program.

National Resource Center (NRC) funding supports UCLA’s ability to offer education on diverse world regions, while FLAS funding provides tuition support and living stipends to students pursuing area studies and language training. Language Resource Center funding provides academic and pedagogical support for the teaching of languages.

Several regional centers who received FLAS funding began immediately processing FLAS Fellowships for the approaching academic year, the application process for which had been conducted in spring 2022. Other centers have immediately opened FLAS applications for the 2022–23 academic year.

Supporting area and language studies at UCLA

The purpose of Title VI funding directly aligns with the mission of the UCLA International Institute: to educate culturally competent global citizens to work in a world connected by ever-growing economic, cultural, communications, social and political ties.

“These grants re-affirm the UCLA International Institute’s crucial role in international studies at UCLA,” said Cindy Fan, UCLA vice provost for international studies and global engagement. “They not only strengthen our educational and community offerings, they provide generous fellowships that enable students to gain the global cultural competencies essential to a 21st-century education.

“I thank our dedicated staff and center faculty directors for the enormous work they put into preparing these funding applications. Their effort and the results will benefit UCLA as a global university for many years to come,” she added.

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies, the Center for Near Eastern Studies and the Latin American Institute all received NRC and FLAS funding. NRC funding supports UCLA courses on specific geographic regions, including advanced language courses, as well as public outreach programs that share the most recent research on their regions with the greater Los Angeles community. Outreach activities of the three centers include popular professional education workshops for K–14 educators that they have offered for decades.

The three NRC-designated centers, plus the additional two centers that received FLAS funding (the Asia Pacific Center and the Center for European and Russian Studies), will also be able to award competitive scholarships to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students — particularly underserved students and those with a strong financial need — to pursue regional studies and advanced language study. The fellowships cover student tuition and living expenses for either an academic year, an academic semester or a summer study program.

Centers welcome Title VI funding

The Latin American Institute (LAI) received an estimated $1 million in NRC support and approximately $1.2. million for area and language studies (FLAS grant), or $259,899 and $288,000 in annual funding, respectively, over the four-year period.

“The Title VI awards once again designate LAI as a National Resource Center for Latin America, enhancing our ability to offer area studies courses and conduct community outreach, particularly our popular continuing education workshops for professional educators,” said LAI Director Rubén Hernández-León. “FLAS funding will continue to be invaluable in supporting Bruins to study less commonly taught languages of the region, including Portuguese, Quechua and Nahuatl.”

The Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES) was awarded a little over $1 million in NRC funding and roughly $1.2 million in FLAS funding, or $263,506 and $289,075, respectively, annually for four years. FLAS funding will support student fellowships in the study of Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish.

“I am honored that CNES has once again been recognized as a National Resource Center for the Middle East,” said CNES Director Ali Behdad. “Over the past few years, the center has been working collaboratively with other research centers and academic units to reframe and renew the pedagogy for teaching the Middle East, both at the college and university level, and for community outreach activities.

“We’re thrilled that the NRC funding will support education on the Middle East and enable CNES to share our knowledge with local communities and K–14 educational professionals, and that FLAS grants will support Bruins studying the region and its languages in depth — including in programs abroad.”

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) and its consortium partner, the UC Berkeley Center for Southeast Asian Studies, jointly received a total of roughly $2.3 million in NRC and FLAS funding for four academic years. The two centers will split roughly $263,509 in NRC funding and $314,373 in FLAS funding each year for four years, with the latter devoted to fellowships for studying the culture of the region, together with the languages of Burmese, Filipino, Khmer, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese.

“The renewal of our Title VI consortium funding will provide instrumental support to our center and its burgeoning array of activities, as well as to our students over the next four years,” said CSEAS Director Stephen Acabado.

“Not only will regional studies and language courses offered at UCLA be strengthened, Title VI funding will help students study the languages of this dynamic region at advanced levels, enhance the work of the center overall and help CSEAS maintain its growing national and international academic networks in Southeast Asian studies.”

The Center for European and Russian Studies (CERS) was awarded annual funding of $251,333 for FLAS Fellowships for the same four-year period, for a total of slightly more than $1 million. Fellowship awards will prioritize applications to study the less commonly taught languages of Europe, among them, Basque, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian and Yiddish.

“Our center is thrilled to receive this Title VI award from the Department of Education,” said CERS Director Laurie Hart. “CERS is one of the oldest academic centers focused on Europe and Russian Studies in the UC system. This funding coincides with a time of enormous change and challenges in Europe, making it more imperative than ever to prepare future leaders who are educated in the histories and cultures of European nations, as well as fluent in their languages.”

The Asia Pacific Center (APC) was awarded $188,292 a year, or a total of $753,168, for FLAS Fellowships. The center has served as a hub for interdisciplinary research and institutional growth of Asian studies on campus. “This grant enables us to build on UCLA’s institutional strengths to train the next generation of globally competent citizens and professionals in areas of critical needs.

“In particular, the grant provides much-needed funding crucial for our students seeking to achieve advanced proficiency in Chinese, Japanese and Korean — a professional requirement of future diplomats, business people and scholars alike working in East Asia,” said Asia Pacific Center Director Min Zhou. APC is currently accepting applications for FLAS fellowships to study these three languages, together with area studies, in 2022–23; the final deadline is September 6, 2022.

The National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC) was recognized as a National Language Resource Center — the only such center exclusively devoted to heritage languages — and awarded approximately $189, 882 a year for four years, or a total of $759,528. The center’s work focuses on research and development of pedagogical approaches and materials that enable heritage language speakers — people who grow up speaking one language at home, but are educated in another — to achieve proficiency in their heritage language, making them truly bilingual.

“We are thrilled that our funding has been renewed,” said Peter Cowe, director of the Center for World Languages, which houses the NHLRC, of the Language Resource Program funding. “The work of the NHLRC benefits UCLA language students directly, as well as the greater nationwide community of heritage language scholars and language teachers who teach in public schools, community colleges, community language schools and universities across the United States.

“The research, surveys, teaching materials and online academic journal of the NHLRC, many of which address ‘critical languages’ identified by the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, are also shared with the public through the NHLRC website, a YouTube initiative and low-cost teacher development workshops and online courses,” added Cowe.

*Award amounts have been rounded, based on estimated annual appropriations for successive academic years.