The International Institute (II) at the University of Michigan has been awarded $12.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education under its competitive and prestigious Title VI program. The awards include Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grants which will provide fellowships to more than 100 students in the first year.

"As federal funding is decreasing and more universities are competing for fewer dollars, U-M continues to be recognized as a national leader in language and area studies training," said Pauline Jones, director of the International Institute.

Title VI is a provision of the 1965 Higher Education Act, funding centers for area studies which serve as vital national resources for world regional knowledge and foreign language training. National Resource Centers (NRCs) teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels and conduct research focused on specific world regions, international studies, and the teaching of less commonly taught languages.

Activities include K-16 teacher training programs that provide a keen understanding of the culture, history, politics, and economics of regions; working with overseas institutions of higher education and other organizations located in the NRC's area of study; and collaborative projects with other centers and institutions that address themes of global importance.

The FLAS fellowship program complements the NRC program, providing opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to engage in area studies and world language training.

In awarding the grants, the Department of Education has designated five International Institute centers as National Resource Centers for the 2018-2022 grant cycle:

  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies
  • Center for South Asian Studies
  • Center for Southeast Asian Studies
  • East Asian Center (consisting of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, Center for Japanese Studies, and Nam Center for Korean Studies)

In addition, the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, along with the five NRCs, received FLAS awards for the four-year cycle.

"These awards reflect the depth and breadth of U-M faculty's international expertise, the strength of our graduate programs, and the commitment of center directors and staff," Jones said.