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New Degree Course in Middle Eastern and European Languages and Cultures to begin in 2017

New Degree Course‘Understanding the relationship between Europe and the Middle East is more important than ever’

A new and innovative degree course in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies at Trinity College Dublin is now offering students the opportunity to gain unique insight and understanding of both European and Middle Eastern culture and society and their relationship with each other in a new undergraduate programme starting in September 2017.

This new course will allow students to become fluent in both a European language and a Middle Eastern language such as Arabic, Turkish or Hebrew. The course is unique to both Irish and UK universities – as it stands Trinity, whose language school is ranked 39th place in the world in the QS Subject Rankings, is the only university in Ireland offering students the option to study Arabic.

For students interested in careers in international relations, diplomacy, the NGO sector, journalism, or further education, this course offers the opportunity to get to grips with the geo-politics of the region while gaining a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern culture and the history of the Near Ancient East and its impact on European culture.

In Trinity, a new Department for Near and Middle Eastern Studies was established in 2012. The Department’s presence within the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies greatly enhances the undergraduate offering in culture and language studies by providing the opportunity to explore the engagement with western and middle-eastern identities, within a multi-cultural Ireland and a multicultural Europe.

Head of the Department for Near and Middle Eastern Studies Professor Anne Fitzpatrick said that prospective students will benefit from "a unique and innovative degree programme designed for a global world which offers Trinity students the opportunities to prepare for a challenging future in an ever-changing intersection of European and Middle Eastern identities and values"

Trinity has a long-standing history in the teaching of Middle Easter languages going back to the 18th century. In 1776 Trinity was also the first university in the world to introduce the study of modern continental languages.

New Degree CourseStudents will study a European language in the first year and take on a further language of either Arabic, Turkish or Hebrew in the second year. This will allow students to first become accustomed with Middle Eastern culture and history and then decide which language is best suited to their interests. Professor Anne Fitzpatrick hopes that the department will soon be able to add Persian to its list of languages.

Professor James Hanrahan, Director of Teaching & Learning (Undergraduate) at the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, said building on Trinity’s excellent reputation for its programme for European Studies, students will now benefit from a fully integrated programme of study which combines European and Middle Eastern Studies. "We see the new degree as a great opportunity to broaden our offering by building on our areas of strength. Understanding the relationship between Europe and the Middle East is arguably more important than ever, and the new degree responds to this by giving students the opportunity to learn about European and Middle Eastern cultures in all their complexity, from the distant past to the present day."

The Head of School, Professor Jürgen Barkhoff, commented on the ambitious aspirations connected to the new programme: “We will educate the next generation of experts to have a deep understanding of the Middle East and this will shape relationships and policies into the future. With this new course we are addressing a real gap not only in Ireland - but internationally, and we expect to attract highly qualified applicants from Ireland, Europe and beyond.”  

Students will have the opportunity to spend their third year in a European university in Spain, France, Italy, Germany or Austria or at a Turkish university or at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Trinity’s Library holds significant resources for students of the new degree course who wish to carry out further study. Its  research collections  include ancient Egyptian papyri and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, illustrated books of Persian poetry as well as Jewish and Islamic texts from the Early Modern and Ottoman periods, reflecting Trinity’s long tradition of teaching the languages and cultures of the Near and Middle East.

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Contact: Aoife King, Communications Officer | Trinity Long Room Hub | aoife.king@tcd.ie | 01 896 3895