The Bush School’s Middle East Program prepares students in the Master of International Affairs and Master of International Policy degree programs for professional careers in government and the nongovernmental sector that require an in-depth knowledge of the Middle East. Four fulltime faculty members in the Department of International Affairs offer a range of courses on the region, exploring the domestic politics of regional states, religion and politics, regional political economy, post-conflict reconstruction and development, the international politics of the region, and American policy toward it. Through this coursework and high-impact research trips to the region, our students have exceptional opportunities to deepen their expertise on the Middle East. The Program’s resources also allow students to enhance their proficiency in a regional language through intensive summer immersion programs in the Middle East and other locations.
Bush School graduates who concentrated on the Middle East during their studies have gone on to successful careers in research and advocacy, development, diplomacy, and intelligence. Among the places they can now be found working are the United States Foreign Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, numerous agencies of the U.S. intelligence community (including the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the National Geospatial Agency), the Peace Corps, the International Rescue Committee, the United States Institute of Peace, Mercy Corps, the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, various branches of the U.S. military, and the Department of Defense (as civilian employees).
Bush School students in the Middle East field have also earned prestigious, competitive fellowships and scholarships to study in the region. In recent years, students received the following awards:
- Center for the Study of Advanced Arabic Abroad (CASA) at the American University of Cairo
- Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program (in Jordan, Oman, and Morocco)
- Critical Language Scholarships sponsored by the U.S. Department of State: Persian (Tajikistan); Arabic (Morocco, Jordan, Oman)
Students interested in the Middle East can take advantage of a rich set of extracurricular activities at the Bush School, including frequent guest speakers on the region. Among recent visitors to the School have been Ryan Crocker, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (and a former Dean of the Bush School); Professor Wendy Pearlman of Northwestern University, author of They Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria (Harper Collins, 2017); Steven Simon, Senior Director for the Middle East on the National Security Council under President Obama; and distinguished Iranian philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush. Other speakers relevant to the Middle East are brought to campus by the Bush School’s Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs and Albritton Center for Grand Strategy. Students also have access to the George H. W. Bush Library and Museum, which houses the archives of President Bush’s administration and is located next to the School.