ANU Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies staff and students celebrated the end of the academic year with a splendid lunch. They were greeted by the incoming CAIS Director A/Prof. Karima Laachir who congratulated them on their studies. Prof. Laachir emphasised the importance of the inclusion of language in any higher degree relating to the Middle East and Central Asia. She said in her experience the hard work of learning a language always pays dividends in future work and life opportunities.
Former CAIS HDR scholar, Dr Elisabeth Yarbakhsh and Masters student, Chisomo Soboya, spoke on their study of Persian and Arabic respectively. Dr Yarbakhsh said she came to ANU as an undergraduate to study a combined degree in Persian and Urdu and ultimately went on to conduct fieldwork in Iran for her doctoral thesis. She said her research would have been impossible without her language acquisition. Ms Chisomo Soboya said she also came to ANU for the language program but in her case, it was to study Arabic. She commented that while Arabic is a difficult language to learn, the CAIS lecturers work very hard to assist the students and a certain level of fun does eventuate!
Prof. Laachir thanked all CAIS staff for their dedication to the language programs and their teaching in 2019.