Leah Spelman is a recipient of the Academic Year 2014-2015 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
As a Masters in Public Health student in Global Health, the FLAS has been instrumental in helping me further my understanding of the Middle East. My focus is global mental health and trauma. Because of the number of civil conflicts in the Middle East, the region is an important area of the world to study the impacts of trauma, and how through trauma work we might better heal the wounds of both historical and recent conflict. I am especially grateful for the opportunity this year to delve into areas of Arabic I hadn’t studied before. My focus in the past was strengthening my political vocabulary, but this year I have been able to delve into much deeper vocabulary pertaining to religion and culture. This will be instrumental in helping me build stronger relationships with those in the Middle East, toward the end of providing culturally-appropriate solutions to addressing the roots of trauma.