In 1946, inspired by his experiences in the region prior to World War II, George Camp Keiser established a center for the study of the Middle East. An architect by training and a student of Islamic architecture, Keiser called the organization the Middle East Institute, and brought together a group of individuals who shared his interest in the region and his conviction that its importance in world affairs would only increase as the century progressed.
The group he assembled included a number of the Washington’s most prominent scholars and statesmen: Christian A. Herter, a congressman from Massachusetts who would go on to become Dwight Eisenhower’s secretary of state and an advocate of the nascent concepts of global justice and the international rule of law; Ambassador George Allen; Harvey P. Hall, a former instructor at the American University of Beirut and Roberts College in Istanbul; and Halford L. Hoskins, an academic who directed what would eventually become the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Though their backgrounds varied, these men recognized how foreign policy was evolving, writing in a 1948 pamphlet that the very concepts of global strategy, security, and national interest would need “much reconsideration” in the post-war era. Nowhere, they said, were these lessons more important than in the Middle East.
Languages & Regional Studies Classes
For more than 60 years, the Middle East Institute has been offering unique, engaging, skills-oriented, and affordable instruction in Middle Eastern languages to Washington, D.C. area students and working professionals of all proficiency levels. We are proud to employ experienced, native-speaking instructors — many of whom also teach at one of D.C.'s many universities and train employees of federal agencies and international organizations throughout the Capital region.