Scholarships & Fellowships

SQCC Research Fellowship in Oman

In 2010, SQCC established its Research Fellowship program, which aims to promote and cultivate scholarly research about Oman across several academic disciplines. Each year, SQCC awards a fellowship to a scholar, or team of scholars.

SQCC is happy to announce the awarding of the 2019 SQCC Research Fellowship to Mrs. Linda Pappas Funsch:

Mrs. Funsch, a Professor of Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies at Frederick Community College, will pursue a research project that will examine the evolution of women’s roles in the Sultanate of Oman, both historically and currently. The modern Omani Renaissance, initiated and guided by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said since 1970, has transformed society at every level. Rapid social, political, and economic changes have had a profound effect on the lives of all citizens, including women. From the perspective of history and culture, Mrs. Funsch's project will focus on the journey of Omani women in national development in both the private and public spheres, examining their aspirations, accomplishments, and challenges in a culture committed to balancing traditional values with the opportunities of the 21st century.

Previous SQCC Research Fellowship Recipients:

The 2018 research fellows were Dr. Elizabeth Perry and Dr. Nathan Reigner.

Dr. Elizabeth Perry, a recent doctoral graduate from the University of Vermont, and her co-investigator Dr. Nathan Reigner of Recreation and Tourism Science, LLC., conducted a research project on encouraging ecotourism development at Al Saleel National Park (ASNP). ASNP, established in 1997, to conserve flora, fauna, and geographic formations is well situated to be relevant to tourists, locals, and public-private partnerships. Encouraging tourism, and specifically ecotourism, growth in Oman is a national priority. This case study employed a mixed-methods approach that combined structured interviews (qualitative), socio-centric network analysis (quantitative), and participatory GIS (spatial). These methods provided avenues for understanding relevance, meanings placed on features, meaningful collaborations, and how these attributes can be incorporated into sustainable ecotourism development. 

The 2017 research fellows were Dr. Marc Lochbaum of Texas Tech University and Dr. Joaquim Goes of Columbia University. 

Dr. Lochbaum's research focuses on the measured levels and patterns of physical activity of Omani children. He is contrasting self-reported activity levels with those of recorded activity levels, obtained through the use of fitness trackers. The research hypothesis maintains that self-reported fitness levels far exceed actual fitness activity. Dr. Lochbaum distributed fitness trackers to Omani children, in coordination with the Ministry of Education. The Ministry not only approved of the research, but asked Dr. Lochbaum to expand it to a country-wide study, making his project the first of its kind in the Arab World. While the SQCC fellowship only covers Dr. Lochbaum's original proposal (the expanded countrywide project will be supported by the Ministry of Education), we are confident that it will contribute to a greater awareness and benefit for Omani youth.  Dr. Lochbaum continues to report on the progress of his study, and has already submitted abstracts of this work to several academic conferences. View the lecture.

Dr. Joaquim Goes's work focuses on understanding the environmental drivers of the harmful algal bloom species
Noctiluca, whose blooms have plagued portions of the Omani coastline in recent years. These algal blooms have adversely affected fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and other recreational activities along the Omani coast. The algal bloom period in Oman is between December and March. Thus far, Dr. Goes has conducted eco-physiological studies on Noctiluca in an effort to better predict future algal blooms. In support of this endeavor, Dr. Goes is developing a GIS-based Decision Support Tool to investigate algal blooms off the Omani coastline. These tools will allow Omani environmental agencies to give advanced information on algal blooms to stakeholders. Dr. Goes is sharing his research with colleagues at Sultan Qaboos University, and SQU has expressed an interest in continuing with this important research after Dr. Goes' fellowship ends.

The 2016 research fellow was Dr. Christopher Small, Lamont Research Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. His project titled “Development of a Prototype Land Cover Monitoring System to Map Vegetation Change in the Dhofar Mountains of Oman”  focused on developing and testing a monitoring system for mapping land cover change in the Dhofar Mountains of southern Oman. He chose the Dhofar Mountains because of their ecological and cultural importance, as well as how possible overgrazing and land cover degradation in general may affect the area. The monitoring system uses multi-temporal satellite imagery from the early 1980s to the present to map the location, rate, and extent of land cover change. View the lecture.

The 2015 research fellow was Dr. Thomas McDow, an assistant professor of history at Ohio State University, who worked with his co-investigator, Dr. Fahad Bishara (assistant professor of history at the College of William and Mary), on a research project titled "An Ocean of Paper: Mapping Omani Genealogies and Migrations Across the Indian Ocean." The project will develop a public history tool by collecting, digitizing, cataloging, and publishing thousands of documents left behind by Omani merchant and migrants around the Indian Ocean. They will create a searchable, centralized database of Omani business deeds scattered around archives in Oman and East Africa, while also constructing a preliminary visual network of Omani kinship, migration, and commerce across the region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The database will facilitate research by students and academics writing the social history of the Sultanate, as well as Omanis interested in tracking the movements and activities of their ancestors. 

The 2014 research fellow was Dr. Allen Fromherz, an associate professor of history at Georgia State University. His research project, "Oman's Empire of the Sea: Diverting the Great Divergence" will culminate in a book examining the Omani Empire from the mid-17th century to the mid-19th century.

The 2013 research fellow was Dr. Jonathan Kenoyer, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He looked at pre-historic technologies in Oman, including lapidary, faience, shell, and metallurgy during the 5th to 1st millennia BCE. 

The 2012 research fellow was awarded to William Zimmerle, an archaeologist out of the University of Pennsylvania who studied the ancient frankincense altar in its cuboid form, and its evolution into the Omani majmars we see today.

The 2011 SQCC research fellow was Dr. Anne Rasmussen of the College of William & Mary.  As an associate professor and chair of the Ethnomusicology Department at the College of William & Mary, Dr. Rasmussen studied the diverse music and dance traditions in Oman that have their roots in Arab, African, Persian, and Bedouin culture. 

Please go to this page for more information or to apply.

SALAM: Summer Arabic Language and Media (SALAM) Program

SQCC has offered scholarships for study in Oman for intermediate and advanced Arabic language students since 2009.  The SQCC Summer Arabic Language and Media (SALAM) program has been held in Dhofar, Nizwa, Muscat, and Manah. The program involves intensive Arabic language coursework in an immersive environment, as well as cultural components and trips around Oman.

SQCC supports Arabic language study for students through its annual SALAM program, which is a fully-funded, intensive, and immersive Arabic language scholarship program. This program allows students to gain a deeper knowledge of Arabic, while becoming familiar with Omani history and culture. Eligibility: All applicants must be U.S. citizens, enrolled in a degree seeking program (BA, MA or PhD) in spring 2020, and have completed four semesters (or the equivalent) of university-level Arabic coursework.

The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) has now closed the application window for the 2020 Summer Arabic Language and Media (SALAM) program in the Sultanate of Oman.

Program dates: 29 May  — 21 July, 2020

Location: Manah, Oman at the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic Language to Non-Native Speakers

Cost: SQCC will cover international travel to and from Washington, D.C. and Muscat, Oman, program language classes, room, board, SALAM-sponsored travel for weekend excursions, and all entrance fees for program activities. Students will be required to purchase international health and medical evacuation insurance.

Classes: Held 8:00am-1:30pm Sunday to Thursday, and include instruction in Modern Standard Arabic and media Arabic.

Outside of class: Students will have access to Omani peer language partners, organized weekend trips around Oman, extracurricular activities, and weekly lectures.

Housing: Shared student housing, provided by the program.

The program also provides: three meals a day, transportation to and from student housing and the university, internet access, and laundry and gym facilities onsite.

Previous SALAM Programs

Over the past few summers, students from across the U.S. were awarded the SALAM scholarship for study in Manah, Oman. These students studied at the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic to Non-Native Speakers for several weeks in May and June. To see updates and pictures from the program, please visit our Facebook page and/or the SALAM 2014 and SALAM 2015 photo albums. To view a snap shot into the day-to-day program, check out this video.

March 10, 2020
On Tuesday 10 March, SQCC welcomed teachers from Close UP Foundation for a tour and ...

February 12, 2020
On Tuesday 12 February, SQCC received students from the Arabic Department at American University in ...

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