Q & A On Georgetown Fellowship

Why Georgetown University and why the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies?

Established in 1789, Georgetown University is one of the most world-renowned leading academic and research institutions. Located in the heart of Washington DC, the university is at the center of public, political, and social diversity. Partnership with Georgetown assures that this initiative is rooted and grounded in an institution with a reputable history of excellence and sustainability.

Furthermore, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) established in 1978, is at the forefront of Arab studies in the United States. Its unique multidisciplinary curriculum is widely recognized as the nation’s premier graduate program in Arab studies, as well as being a leading academic contributor to the fields of politics, cultural studies, and international affairs.

What is an endowed post-doctoral fellowship?

An endowed post-doctoral fellowship is a yearly award to a recent doctoral graduate (Ph.D.) from an accredited university or granting institution. The fellowship is for one academic year (August through May), and offers an annual stipend of $50,000, in addition to $5,000 in research funds.

During the academic year, the Fellow must continue to conduct research on the Druze or other intentional political and cultural communities in the Arab world, in order to transform the doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript for publication.

The Fellow is encouraged to deliver a public lecture on a relevant topic to be determined with the Director of the CCAS, and must design and teach for CCAS one graduate seminar on the Druze and the broader topics of socio-cultural pluralism, identity politics, and subnational communities in the Arab world.

What is so special about an endowment?

Endowments, by nature, afford the donor an opportunity to create a legacy that will provide benefits to the society year after year, and generation after generation. An endowment creates financial stability, allowing less dependence on unpredictable sources of revenue, such as individual donations and yearly sponsorships.  Once an endowment is established, it perpetuates itself for generations to come.

Why is this initiative significantly different than any other?

The impact of this one-time initiative or donation will be witnessed for decades regarding the research and curriculum it generates. Inevitably, its effect will spread and grow each year, as every student’s attendance in a course on the Druze and Arab Studies increases availability of individuals reading new material relating to the Druze.

The establishment of a post-doctoral fellowship in Druze and Arab Studies sets in motion a positive ripple effect regarding the Druze. These sustainable, long-term and unprecedented results are possible through the establishment of graduate or undergraduate courses, academic public events, seminars, and research agenda – all relating to the Druze.

Who is eligible for this ADF fellowship?

Eligible candidates must have conducted their doctoral research on topics that are of primary concern for the study of the Druze. Eligible applicants must have completed their Ph.D. degree within a period of no more than two years from the start of the fellowship year. All But Dissertation (ABD) applicants must provide proof that their degrees are scheduled for completion at least one month before the start of the fellowship year. Applicants will be assessed on the originality of their scholarship and the high quality of their academic record.

What is the outcome of the yearly ADF fellowship?

During the academic year, the fellow must continue to conduct research on the Druze, and devote his/her time to transforming the doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript for publication. Furthermore, the American Druze Foundation Fellow must design and teach one graduate seminar on the Druze.

What is the focus of this ADF fellowship?

The endowed post-doctoral fellowship in Druze and Arab Studies will concentrate on the political, economic, and social history of the Druze. Theological or faith-related research is beyond the scope of the endowment. The aim of the fund is to promote specialized academic research on the Druze and to advance knowledge about the Druze in the fields of history, law, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, archaeology, and arts.

How do you ensure a sustainable focus on the Druze vs. general Arab Studies?

By nature, the endowment will establish a program rather than a person. The program’s objective is clearly defined and articulated to ensure long-term permanency, including the requirement for a potential applicant to have a research agenda focused on the Druze. Furthermore, the intent of the fellowship – a term highly respected and central in academic circles – specifically delineates the goal to study the Druze from various aspects, i.e., considering their community historically, sociology, culturally, and politically.  Last but certainly not least, the post-doctoral fellowship has two components: title and description. While the title may cater to a wider marketing requirement and to the university’s need, the description component encompasses a well-defined curricular and research aspect. The curricular component entails teaching courses that would address the title as a whole; however, the research component must specifically focus on work essentially involving advancing Druze research.

What is the present benefit of this fellowship on the Druze in America and worldwide?

This fellowship marks an unprecedented accomplishment to ground Druze studies in a permanently endowed fellowship at a reputable academic institution. The research and curricular offerings generated from this fellowship will have an immediate effect on the Druze in America. Important to note is that the world of academia is firmly established and connected worldwide: scholars, interested parties, and students benefit from the research and curriculum developed all over the world. Equally important is that with the advancements in technology, the world of academia is connecting through online courses, peer-reviewed electronic journals, and digital libraries. In academia, research breeds more research regardless of geographic locations. Therefore, the benefits of this initiative will have an equal and long-lasting impact on the Druze, not just in America, but worldwide.