Community programs

The Center for the Study of the Middle East (CSME) supports a broad range of activities aimed at the K-12 community, including sponsoring language programs, as well as outreach involving the history, culture, music, art, and other aspects of studying the Middle East. The Center also sponsors educational programs in community colleges. All of the lectures and events sponsored by CSME are free and open to the public.

CSME’s affiliates take their outreach obligations seriously and are proud to take part in the Bloomington Lotus Blossoms Festival, the annual conference of the Indiana Council for the Social Studies, the International Festival of Indianapolis, the Midwest Conference on International Education, as well as the Social Studies Workshop for K-12 teachers.

CSME has developed a core of local community members who consistently attend our events, and we continue to find ways of engaging and expanding this core group.

Community colleges

The long-term goal of this initiative is to create a global consortium of teachers skilled in training students in an arts- and culture-based approach to conflict studies, justice-based reconciliation, human rights awareness, and cultural heritage policy in virtual and face-to-face learning environments. We are interested in bringing to the foreground cultural practices and policies that promote an understanding of the tensions as well as the commonalities among communities in contention.

Food, music, folk healing, liturgical practices, language and visual arts provide doorways through which teachers can help students understand the national, religious, and interethnic issues at play globally. The Center for the Study of the Middle East has been working with the Navajo Technical University.

The Global Learning Across Indiana Initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) program. Ivy Tech has been partnering with the Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University since January 2013 in this three-year initiative for the internationalization of the Ivy Tech curriculum and the development of a Global Learning Certificate which will be available at Ivy Tech campuses throughout the state. CSME has developed an Arabic curriculum and supported the teaching of Arabic.

Indiana University Bloomington and Ivy Tech Bloomington are engaged in a four-year collaboration to develop faculty learning communities that will work toward designing global learning experiences for all students. CSME is a partner in the project and works with Ivy Tech. CSME has taken part in the Ivy Tech International Education Week which took place from November 16 until November 19, 2015.

Visit the Center for the Study of Global Change


Bridges: Children, Languages, World is a project that offers exploratory language and culture classes to young learners in the greater Bloomington, Indiana area. Knowing that learning world language at an early age enhances linguistic ability overall, the central goal of Bridges is to ignite interest in learning about different languages and cultures and inspire children to pursue both with excitement and enthusiasm all their lives.

Bridges provides instruction to children in languages not typically offered in the public school system, such as Arabic (Alef Ba program) and Turkish (Merhaba program). Classes are free, and open to the general public unless otherwise noted.

Indiana University is committed to the success of Indiana’s students, and through the IU School of Education for P-16 Research and Collaboration (P-16 Center), IU is an active partner in improving education for K-12 students in Indiana’s under-resourced school districts.

The IU deliberation model, Deliberation for Global Perspectives in Teaching and Learning (DGP), is an online curriculum that offers a practical process with which to examine and evaluate multiple perspectives on multifaceted topics.

Indiana University's Global Speakers Service (GSS) is designed to enhance international topics and activities in Indiana's schools and civic organizations – K-12, college, and adult education classes, government organizations, churches, businesses, social clubs, libraries, museums, service clubs, and retirement communities. Within 50 miles of Bloomington, IU faculty, advanced graduate students, and international students are available to make presentations, free-of-charge, on a wide range of international topics to add a global component to any curriculum or program. This innovative outreach program is cooperatively organized by the Global Center and other world area studies centers across the IUB campus.

International Studies in Schools is an innovative and award-winning distance learning program which uses interactive video technology to connect K-12 schools and community groups across the U.S. with Indiana University international students, scholars, and specialists. With no expensive travel abroad needed, the world is brought right into the classroom. This innovative outreach program is cooperatively organized by the Global Center and other world area studies centers across campus, such as the Center for the Study of the Middle East.

The Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar Festival is a free multicultural arts and education event for kids and families. Created in 1996 with the help of area teachers, the World Bazaar has become a tradition in Monroe County schools — public, private, and charter — as well as in our community. Volunteers from the Bloomington community, including the Center for the Study of the Middle East, present arts, music, language, and international crafts at a vibrant multicultural fair in the gymnasium of Binford Elementary.

Other programs

The Center for the Study of the Middle East also gets involved on campus, taking part in various programs and collaborating with other area studies centers at Indiana University.

The project considers the role of area studies in an increasingly borderless, interconnected, and global world. The project seeks to coordinate an IU working group and collaborative activities that cut across area studies centers and disciplines. It will draw on the specific IU strengths in both global and area studies to consider the need for a new paradigm for pursuing regional studies and new conceptual, collective, and practical frameworks for understanding borderless spaces and sovereignties.

In order to bring professional development opportunities to in-service teachers, IU’s Consortium of Area Studies and International Education (CASIE) presents 4 workshop development activities annually. The first workshop was held in conjunction with the ISIP activities in Columbus. The Center for the Study of the Middle East is also active outside of Indiana University.

Convened by the Foreign Policy Association, the Great Decisions Series is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the DVD and meeting in a Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. This year, one of the topics is “Shifting Alliances in the Middle East”. Professor John Walbridge, from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, will be discussing this theme at the Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington.

CSME contributes to this annual workshop which focuses on implementing global learning, research, and teaching on campuses.

For more information visit the Institute for Curriculum and Campus Internationalization

The International Outreach Council (IOC) of Indiana University Bloomington is a joint effort by area studies centers, including CSME, and others to reach out to various publics in the community in a collective effort to educate.

This is a 4-year initiative led by the Global and Area Studies Title VI Centers and the School of Education at Indiana University along with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), the Indiana University state-wide system, the Indiana University School of Education, and Ivy Tech Community College.

Established in 1981, the Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC) is a national nonprofit organization working to increase public knowledge about the peoples, places, and cultures of the Middle East, including the Arab world, Israel, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan. MEOC’s target audience is non-specialists at the K-12 and college levels, although its services are also relevant to broader community needs.

MEOC has members around the country and its services include a semi-annual newsletter, member listserv, annual book award and a website.

IU area studies centers organize, in collaboration with the IU Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), a series of annual symposiums where different issues related to world development and sustainability are discussed by international specialists.
The last symposium, which took place on April 8, 2016, discussed the topic of energy.