- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2009

A new beginning for student exchange

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “students from Muslim countries wanting to study in the United States have faced unprecedented scrutiny. Many have not been able to take advantage of study opportunities because they haven’t been able to secure the necessary visas. And while American students have become increasingly interested in the Middle East, the number of Americans who actually spend time studying there remains low,” Andrew Mills says on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog.

President Obama wants to change that dynamic.

“On education, we will expand exchange programs and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities,” the president said Thursday at Cairo University.

The president challenged Muslim leaders to turn around “underinvestment” in education and innovation and promised to open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Stanford lets scholars access MLK directory

From the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education:

“The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University is now permitting scholars online access to a directory of more than 4,000 documents relating to the slain civil rights leader. An additional 4,000 detailed descriptions of King documents will be added to the online collection by the end of the year. Due to copyright issues with the King family, the actual documents will not be available online. But the descriptions will contain information on the locality of the actual documents and how researchers can gain access to them.

“The online database serves as a directory of materials at the three research centers holding large collections of King-related documents: Stanford, the Atlanta University Center, and Boston University. Clayborne Carson, professor of history at Stanford, stated that the directory ‘is the only public database on King archives that provides scholarly details and descriptions on each individual item’ at all three research centers.”

Scisne Latine?

“Modern school systems are failing to teach Latin,” says Mark Clark, Christendom College’s associate professor of classical and early Christian studies. “This has created a dire need in the [Catholic] Church for those who can work fluently with Latin. The church has a treasury of Latin literature spanning almost two millennia, which is now sitting like an unnoticed trunk in the attic.”

In July, Christendom College will hold two one-week Latin-immersion courses for high school students. Mr. Clark designed the program to introduce aspiring Latinists to the beauty and power of the ancient language of the church.

Classes will be conducted mostly in Latin by Mr. Clark and Furman University’s David Morgan. The Gospels, Hans Orberg’s “Lingua Latina” and dialogues from 15th-, 16th- and 17-century courses will be used. “It’s an easy way to teach youngsters how to begin to think with different thought structures,” said Mr. Clark, who characterized the classes as Latin kindergarten.

Students enrolled in the classes also will participate in such activities as hiking along the Skyline Drive and visiting the nation’s capital. Christendom, located in Front Royal, Va., is about 70 miles from the District.

Last year’s “students had a great time. There was so much enthusiasm,” Mr. Clark said. “It was great to see the students speaking Latin outside the classroom as well. They found the program to be very challenging, yet at the close of the one-week program, the students were longing for more.”

Mr. Clark said he started the program in response to a serious need in the church.

“A sign of how bad things have gotten is that even Vatican documents are written in the vernacular and then translated into Latin that isn’t really Latin,” he said. “We are, in short, in real danger of being cut off from our own tradition. The need, therefore, is crystal clear. And it seems much the best course to teach young people whose ideals are in the process of being formed, so that they may decide to serve the church in this way.”

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