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The Middle East/South Asia Studies Program (ME/SA) at the University of California, Davis, was founded in 2004 as an undergraduate Minor in response to the demands of UC Davis students and the urgent need for understanding this crucial area of the world. In its first year, 1,052 students enrolled in ME/SA courses.

By June 2006, the program had won a major U.S. Department of Education grant to launch Arabic and Hindi/Urdu instruction, new courses, conferences, lectures, and K-12 teacher training.

The ME/SA undergraduate major was launched in Fall 2008. By 2009, community members had funded the Suad Joseph Lecture series in Iranian Studies.  By 2010, ME/SA had won the PARSA CF endowed visiting lectureship in Iranian Studies and donor funding for the Faris Saeed Arab Studies lecture series.  By 2013, UC Davis had over 30 ME/SA affiliated faculty, 22 teaching faculty, and over 100 courses. 

As the only University of California campus with a minor and major in Middle East/South Asia Studies, UC Davis is a pioneer in the study of the Middle East and South Asia in relationship to each other.