Professor Nezar AlSayyad and the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE) have established the Center for Arab Societies and Environments Studies (CASES) to encompass research related to the Arab world. A Collaborative Program for Contemporary Arab Culture was also inaugurated and funded by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). This initiative leverages existing resources to form an enduring relationship between Arab and Gulf research institutions and the foremost research university in the United States, UC Berkeley.
CASES is the first center of its kind in California for the study of contemporary Arab culture. CASES also plans to extend its activity beyond the type of exchanges that Gulf states have typically established with U.S. institutions. In doing so, it hopes to enlarge the cooperation from mere unequal exchange to true substantive collaboration.
The Program for Contemporary Arab Culture focuses on Arab civilization and contemporary Gulf culture and addresses an important paradox: while people around the world express appreciation for the historic achievements of Arab Muslim civilization and admire the current economic growth of countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), they rarely make the connection between past glories and present-day successes. Among the foundational goals of CASES is support for research that traces this legacy of Arab civilization in contemporary urban developments in the Gulf—a region of the Arab world that has flourished in the last few decades. The program defines the concepts of civilization and culture as encompassing all aspects of the humanities, the social sciences, and the professions—realms in which the Arab world has historically excelled. Its projects focus on the interconnected realms of the arts, architecture, development, planning, and urbanization in an attempt to identify areas of opportunity in cities of the Arab world, and GCC member states in particular. The Program for Contemporary Arab Culture reminds the world that the Persian Gulf, as it is commonly referred to in the West, is also the Arabian Gulf.
For more information on the Center for Arab Societies and Environments Studies and the Program for Contemporary Arab Culture, please visit: http://iaste.berkeley.edu/cases or click on the image below.