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Middle East Center

Welcome to the Middle East Center (MEC) at Florida State University. Created in 2006, the MEC's main objective is to provide an academic environment for students from a multitude of disciplines to develop a deeper understanding of the Middle East. The MEC also administers FSU's Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies, as well as minors in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.


On Friday, November 13, the Arabic Outreach Program at Florida State is hosting International Coffee Hour. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to enjoy refreshments, cultural performances, and conversation celebrating Arabic and Middle Eastern culture. The event will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Center for Global Engagement. Coffee, mint tea, and baklava will be served. Please join us! 

Professor Reema Barakat

The Middle East Center is happy to welcome Professor Reema Barakat to Florida State! Reema, who grew up in Syria, earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and spent time teaching English to students at universities and schools in Syria. She received a Fulbright Grant to study at the University of Texas at Austin, where she had three years of experience teaching Arabic as a foreign language. She earned her Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies in spring 2015.

At Florida State, Reema is teaching Elementary and Intermediate level Arabic courses, and appreciates the chance to instruct students in both Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialect simultaneously. As a faculty member in the Modern Languages Department, Reema is excited to work side-by-side with other language instructors: “Being apart of the Arabic division is very cool.  You have an Italian teacher next door, and the French professor down the hall. I feel like when the Modern Languages and Linguistics Department meets, there’s a piece of each part of the world.”

Reema was also drawn to Florida State by the university’s friendly, community atmosphere, and has loved the chance to cheer on the Seminoles at home football games: “They’re winning! That’s awesome. The athletic part of the university is very fun.” As for athletics, Reema also enjoys playing tennis, playing Tablah, and belly-dancing, and plans to teach a belly-dancing course this semester for interested students. Check back for more information on signing up for this class! 

The Middle East Center would also like to extend a warm welcome to another new staff member from the Arabic Division, Ms. Sanoura Alkhofash. Sanoura received the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant scholarship and is serving as a teaching assistant in Arabic courses for the academic year.

Sanoura Alkhofash

Sanoura grew up in Amman, Jordan, and received her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in English Language Literature at the University of Jordan. Prior to coming to Florida State, Sanoura spent several years teaching Arabic to non-native speakers from all over the world, including many American and British diplomats. Sanoura is thrilled to have the chance to work at FSU and with engaged students who are “curious to know for themselves about the Arab world.”

Florida State has already started to feel like home to Sanoura, who has found the faculty and students to be very friendly and welcoming. “The spirit of FSU is beyond everything I’ve ever known. There is a real sense of campus community, like a big family. I love it!”

Outside the classroom, Sanoura is trying to continue a personal tradition and get a true taste of Tallahassee: “I tried almost every single restaurant in Amman, about 70 percent. I made a ranking listing best to worst, and found a favorite one!” So far, Newk’s on Tennessee Street is Sanoura’s favorite, but get in touch with restaurant recommendations to help Sanoura complete her list!

Allyson Gonzalez, a new post-doc in the Dept. of Religion who specializes in Spain, is offering a seminar course in the fall 2015 semester on Jews and Muslims living in Christian Spain. The seminar will be mixed grad/undergrad, and its course number is REL 4190-2. Sign up today!