Challenge Programs: Challenge Grants

Period of Performance

12/1/2008 - 7/31/2015

Funding Totals (matching)

$500,000.00 (approved)
$500,000.00 (offered)
$500,000.00 (awarded)

Establishment of an Endowment to Support the Middle East Studies Program at California State University, Fresno

FAIN: CH-50879-11

CSU, Fresno (Fresno, CA 93740-0001)
Vida Samiian (Project Director: May 2010 to June 2016)

Endowment to advance the Middle East Studies Program (MESP), including salary enhancement for a faculty chair, faculty development and travel, graduate assistantships, visiting guest lecturers, conferences, and curriculum and materials development.

California State University, Fresno is requesting an NEH Challenge Grant of $500,000 to establish a $2 million endowment for the Middle East Studies program (MESP). This permanent endowment will support the following components: (1) an endowed professorship in humanities and language (2) a guest lecture series; (3) faculty development resources and travel for research; (4) student assistance; (5) a bi-annual ME studies conference; and (6) a collection of MES materials. The NEH request is an outgrowth of (1) the development of a ME Studies minor; (2) a scholarship endowment by the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute; and (3) extremely positive support and participation from the faculty and the community. The timing for this request is propitious for two reasons. The University is undertaking a major fund raising campaign that identifies MESP as a Tier 1 project, and the MESP is now poised to become one of the University's strongest, most innovative, and most high profile programs.