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University of Washington Jackson School centers receive $10.6 million to advance understanding of world regions and foreign languages

September 12, 2022

Bronze W at entrance of University of Washington

The University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies has received $10.6 million in federal funding for five global and area studies centers and programs over the next four years, from 2022 through 2026. The primary goal of the funding, which is under the prestigious Title VI federal program in the U.S. Department of Education, is to support the teaching and study of world regions and foreign languages and generate public engagement in global affairs.

“These awards allow the Jackson School to remain the University of Washington’s vital center for area studies teaching, research and programming,” said Danny Hoffman, interim director of the Jackson School. “The School was founded on the idea that understanding the world’s languages, cultures and histories is critical to meaningful global engagement. We are proud to continue a tradition of scholarship and public engagement that encourages students, faculty, and community partners to focus collectively on the complex issues that face the world today.”

Nearly half of the funds, $5.2 million, will go to UW students as Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to support acquiring modern foreign languages and area or global studies competencies. These will be distributed by four of the five centers, namely, the Canadian Studies Center, East Asia Center, South Asia Center and Southeast Asia Center. UW was one of 46 U.S. institutions to receive a FLAS award.

Three of the Centers received 15-28 per cent increases from the previous term (2018-2022), which was also significantly more than the national increase. This means around $1.3 million will be available on an annual basis in student fellowships for UW students to learn and choose from a variety of languages, including Less Commonly Taught Languages, starting from this academic year.

The Canadian Studies Center was the first FLAS program in the nation to offer instruction in Indigenous languages spoken in Canada; to date the Center has funded fellowships in nine unique Indigenous languages spoken on Vancouver Island, to northern Ontario to the Arctic.

Supporting global engagement for Washington and the world
The remaining portion of the federal funding, $5.3 million, will fund five National Resource Centers for instruction, research and training in area and international studies; work in the language aspects of professional and other fields of study; and instruction and research on issues in world affairs.

Activities focus on area and international studies, languages and thematic issues, and provide teacher training and critical global education resources for students, teachers, community college teachers, university faculty and the public at the local, regional, national and international levels.

The Jackson School, which has been a part of the Title VI Program since the latter’s inception in 1959, will receive more than $1.3 million through five National Resource Centers for the academic year 2022-2023 under the new grant cycle. The list of centers at the Jackson School that received Title VI funding – the majority of which also were given increases from the previous funding cycle – are:

Examples of planned activities range from seed funding for UW’s department of Asian Languages and Literature to hire a new Korean assistant teaching professor; to spearheading a new Introduction to Global Challenges course in the Jackson School that will introduce UW students; to fields of study and career paths that stress global engagement, to hosting a Diversity & Inclusion in Study Abroad Conference featuring experts on including students with disabilities, first generation college students, students of color, and other groups that have been historically underrepresented in study abroad.

The UW was one of 44 institutions to receive National Resource Center funding for the 2022-2026 program cycle.