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High school students of Arabic visit UW-Madison

December 6, 2010 By Susannah Brooks

A campus visit on Wednesday, Dec. 8, by 30 high school students of Arabic will unite a U.S. Department of State program and several language and culture initiatives at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The Arabic program at Wisconsin’s Plymouth High School, near Sheboygan, is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Teachers of Critical Languages Program. This exchange promotes instruction in Arabic and Chinese in U.S. elementary and secondary schools by bringing native speakers from the Middle East and China to teach and live for a year in the United States. This year, Madison East High School is the only other high school in Wisconsin to host a teacher of Arabic.

While on campus, the students will visit a first-semester Arabic class; meet with students and the resident coordinator of Baytunaa, the Arabic language floor in the Adams Hall’s International Learning Community; and enjoy lunch at a local Mediterranean restaurant. Dustin Cowell, director of UW–Madison’s Arabic language program, and Dianna Murphy, associate director of the Language Institute, will lead presentations for students and teachers. Additional presentations will introduce the students to the Arabic, Persian and Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII); “The Arabian Nights,” this year’s featured text in the Center for the Humanities Great Texts program; and the Inside Islam Project, a collaboration between UW–Madison’s National Resource Centers and Wisconsin Public Radio’s program “Here On Earth: Radio Without Borders.”

The school visit is coordinated by the Language Institute, the Department of African Languages and Literature and other campus units. The Language Institute promotes collaboration for education, research and outreach in world languages, literatures and cultures. It is an initiative of the College of Letters & Science, with substantial support from the Division of International Studies.

For more information on the visit, or other Language Institute programs, contact Murphy at 608-262-1575 or

Additional information about the Teachers of Critical Languages Program is available at