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The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization is devoted to teaching and research concerning the principal cultures and languages of the Near and Middle East, including Central Asia, emphasizing not only their contemporary manifestations but also their ancient and medieval roots and their significance within the history of world civilizations.
  • Education
    Archives & Databases
    Education Organizations
  • Language
    Language Classes

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization (NELC) was founded by Prof. Farhat Ziadeh, who was born in Ramallah, Palestine, and received his B.A. from the American University of Beirut in 1937, and graduated from the University of London in 1940 with an LL.B. He became a tenured professor at Princeton University. In 1966, Ziadeh was invited to come to the University of Washington to develop a new program in Near Eastern studies. As he was building this new program, Ziadeh published Lawyers: The Rule of Law and Liberalism in Modern Egypt in 1968. A mere four years after his arrival at the UW, in 1970, Ziadeh had transformed the small Near Eastern studies program into a new department at the University named the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization and was appointed its first departmental chair.