If we move to the other side of the ocean, we find that the Americans have started to attach importance to studying the Islamic world and have been sending missions to it more than a hundred years ago. In fact, the American Orientalist Foundation was established in 1842. American missions were sent to the Arab world at least 20 years earlier.
As for the contemporary interest in other peoples and nations and especially the Middle East, it has been based upon a ministerial decision issued in 1958 aiming at supporting a big number of Middle Eastern studies centers and scientific departments specialized in other peoples’ and nations’ studies. Well renowned universities have been part of this program such as Princeton, New York University (with a special cooperation formula among them), the Universities of Chicago and Indiana as well as the Universities of California and Los Angeles (Devereau, 1966, 95-102).
This interest and support to these studies is still ongoing in the United States. In December 1991, American president George Bush (the father) signed an educational decree according to which he allocated a special budget to do the following policies:
A- Understanding the foreign cultures.
B- Reinforcing the economic competitiveness capacity of the United States and supporting international cooperation and security (Devereau, 1966).
Institutions are nominated to receive support in the month of February of every year. Many universities apply to receive this support according to certain criteria set by the American Administration, most importantly the institutions’ capacity to educate American citizens and teach them languages and related cultures, regions as well as international studies, reinforcing thus the nation’s capacity to work efficiently in the international field (www.ndu.edu/awards.htm).
Among the universities that received the American government’s support in 1991 is San Diego State University, the Language Acquisition Resource Center. The amount allocated for the program was 323,357 dollars and the project’s title was: Establishing a center for distinguished linguistic abilities. The center’s vision is that National Security requires specialized experts in languages, not those who understand the meaning of the general terms used in a particular foreign language but those close to the peoples that speak this language, that understand them, can communicate with them on the cultural level and show a deep social understanding of the international and governmental education (www.ndu.edu/awards.htm).
Before the September 2001 incidents, America found itself in need of specialized experts in a large number of languages of the world. It has made studies that explain this need according to the communiqué published on the American government’s website. It includes more than 40 languages and more than 80 countries from all around the world. The report also mentions the need for other specializations besides languages (Congressional Record: March 22, 2001 (Senate). Page S2723-S2725 http://fas.org/irp/congress/2001_cr/s032201.html