The University of Arkansas is home to the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies (http://uark.edu/rd_arsc/mest/4749.php), bringing together faculty and students from many different disciplines to explore the history, culture and politics of the Middle East. Through its endowment, the Center is able to fund faculty research, undergraduate and graduate training, as well as lectures, colloquia, symposiums, and translation projects.
In part through support of the Center, the University of Arkansas maintains active research and educational programs in the archaeology of Iraq and greater Mesopotamia. Dr. Jesse Casana (Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology) is currently the co-director of an archaeological field project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Upper Sirwan/Diyala Regional Project. In October 2012, he and colleagues Claudia Glatz (University of Glasgow) and Tevfik Emre Şerifoğlu (Bitlis Eren University) undertook a short reconnaissance of the region and signed a five-year agreement with antiquities officials to conduct archaeological survey and other investigations in a study area extending from Kalar to Darbandikhan. A second season in planned for May 2013, and several University of Arkansas students will participate.
The University of Arkansas’ Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (http://www.cast.uark.edu/), a global leader in geospatial research with a longstanding commitment to application of these technologies in archaeology, has also recently agreed to collaborate with the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) to provide training to Iraqi cultural heritage officials and students. Recent Arkansas graduate, Dr. Tuna Kalayci, will offer a two-week course on archaeological GIS at the IICAH in May 2013, and future course offerings are currently being planned.
In addition to its work in archaeology and cultural heritage, several University of Arkansas Ph.D. students in history are investigating topics pertaining to modern Iraq.