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INNOVATIVE SUMMER SCHOLARS PROGRAM HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ENTERS ITS SECOND YEAR AT BARD COLLEGE Intensive language instruction in Hebrew and Arabic and cultural activities leading to greater understanding of Jewish and Arab cultures are goals of the pro

Emily Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— For the second year Bard College is sponsoring an innovative two-week program in association with Dutchess County BOCES for twenty-five high school students. The Jay P. Rolison Jr. Summer Scholars program at Bard, June 24 through July 7, will help develop a dialogue about and cultural understanding of Arab, Jewish, and Christian relations in the Middle East. The program, which was developed last year by Lourdes Maria Alvarez, assistant professor of Spanish and codirector of the Latin American and Iberian Studies program at Bard College, is directed this year by Hezi Brosh, visiting assistant professor of Arabic and Hebrew at Bard College, and Malek Abisaab of the University of Akron, Ohio. It offers a group of gifted tenth- and eleventh-grade Dutchess County high school students a unique opportunity to study this subject in a college setting.

"Last year's program was a tremendous success," Alvarez notes. "Although I had hoped to spark the students' interest in the languages of this region with a view toward college plans, several students couldn't wait and continued with their study of the language either at Bard or through organized group tutorials. One of the high school students taking Arabic at Bard won the prize for best Arabic student—beating all the college students!"

The twenty-five high school students are selected from thirteen school districts and will have four hours of intensive language study in Arabic and Hebrew each day. In the evenings they will take part in lectures and discussions on the culture and history of the Middle East and Arab-Jewish relations. In New York City they will visit the Islamic Center, a mosque, for an introduction to Islamic practice and belief, and they will experience the lively Friday evening services of the Jewish congregation of B'nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side..

State Senator Stephen Saland has described the Summer Scholars program as "marvelous. It offers opportunities to the county's most talented students for academic challenge in a collegiate environment."

The program's goal is to foster a dialogue and enhance cultural understanding of the complexities of both the Middle East and Arab-Jewish-Christian relations in that volatile part of the world. Students taking part in the program come from diverse backgrounds. Many of the students come from either a Jewish or Arab-American background and the program is designed to so that the students will confront stereotypical portrayals of Arabs and Jews and come to a deeper understanding of the historical conflict in the Middle East.

The Jay P. Rolison Jr. Summer Scholars program, the only one of its kind in New York State, was established fourteen years ago at Bard College. It has since expanded to three additional institutions—Marist, Vassar, and Dutchess County Community Colleges—each with a different focus. The program is funded by a New York State legislative initiative sponsored by Senator Saland, Dutchess County school districts, and in-kind contributions from the four colleges. 

For further information about the Summer Scholars program at Bard College, call 914-758-6822.
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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001