The Arab-American Educational Foundation Center for Arab Studies (AAEF-CAS) مركز الدراسات العربية في جامعة هيوستن is the only academic center in Texas, and one of two in the United States, solely focusing on the Arab region. Based at the University of Houston’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, CAS houses two major endowed positions: the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Arab History and the Arab-American Educational Foundation Dr. Burhan and Mrs. Misako Ajouz Endowed Professorship in Arab Studies. It is also home to a variety of academic resources, uniquely supported with the help of grassroots fundraising carried out by Houston’s Arab American community, offering an exciting model of campus-community partnership. These include the Mahmoud Darwish Endowment established to encourage research as well as the Farouk Shami Endowment designed to support colloquia and advanced national graduate student training in Arab Studies. Additionally, CAS offers Ph.D. student funding through the Issa Cook Scholarship program, and it is home to two annual distinguished lecture series: the Nijad and Zeina Fares Distinguished Lecture in Arab Studies, and the Paul Kardoush Distinguished Lecture in Arab Studies.
Through its programs, CAS covers a large part of the globe, extending from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and encompassing the entirety of North Africa and large swaths of Western Asia. This region is home to a dazzling array of contemporary cultural innovations, influencing global intellectual and social trends in significant ways. Its most widely spoken language, Arabic, is one of the six official United Nations languages and its influence is clearly discernible well beyond Arab-majority countries, extending to a host of African, Asian, and European states in addition to sizeable diasporic communities in the Americas and Australasia. The region is also a site of ongoing political formation and re-formation, influenced by contested sovereignties, imperial interventions, colonialism and anti-colonialism, energy politics, and popular and democratic movements.
CAS is a scholarly space that encourages serious engagement with the Arab world, and the histories, cultures, modern realities, concerns, and aspirations of its people. It promotes sustained multidisciplinary research, teaching, publications, community engagement, and media expertise in an atmosphere that is underlined by empathetic inquiry, scholarly rigour, intellectual openness, and academic freedom.