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Advancing a National Leader in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies: Help us continue to fund Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at UNC!

2019-2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Asian Studies at Carolina, and this Departmental fundraising campaign denotes our intention to become the national leader in instruction and research in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Forty years ago, a small group of faculty proposed a curriculum in Asian Studies for the first time in UNC’s history. The approval of this proposal transformed Carolina and produced new opportunities for generations of students, who have studied Chinese, Japanese, and more recently Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Korean, Persian, and Turkish. The department has offered classes in culture, literature, film, and history, and prepared students to study abroad, intern, work, and live in Asia and the Middle East, and more broadly to serve as bridges between those regions and the U.S. Carolina’s goal of educating “conscientious global citizens, aware and respectful of world cultures” is advanced every day as a result of our work in the Department of Asian Studies.

How will we accomplish the goal of becoming a nationally competitive program? First, by broadening the reach of our activities. That’s why we have started recruiting for a new MA program in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the first of its kind among any public university in the southeastern U.S., that will prepare students to engage intelligently and ethically with the social, environmental, and political challenges facing Asia, the Middle East, and their transnational communities.

Second, by continuing to grow our faculty and offer new programs to satisfy diverse student demands. We offered our first Korean language course in 2006 to just 23 students. In a decade, interest in Korean grew by more than 1000%. This fall, we have launched a new Korean Studies major made possible by the support of the Korea Foundation and the hiring in 2018 of a new tenure-track faculty member. In the years ahead, we hope to make new hires in Japanese culture, Chinese digital humanities, and East Asian Buddhist literature and culture among other fields.

Third, by serving the university as it globalizes its curricula and engages locally and globally to improve the planet. Asian Studies is at the center of UNC’s efforts to be a truly global university as well as a national leader in foreign language and area studies. Our success is visible in the consistent federal funding the Carolina Asia Center and the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies have won through the Title VI program, providing millions of dollars to UNC students and programs for language study, study abroad, overseas research, and programming both on and off campus.


Please become one of the first forty donors by clicking on the “Giving” link at the top of the page. You can also reach our development officer, Colleen Sisneros, at