YCMES History

For nearly two decades, the Yemen Language Centre and, more recently, the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies (YCMES) have provided a leading education for students of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. Founded by Sabri Saleem in 1989, who built on his experience as deputy director of the Peace Corps in Yemen, the Yemen Language Centre was the first institution in the country to be devoted to teaching Arabic as a foreign language.

After four years of success and development, the Yemen Language Centre merged with the Yemen Center for Arab Studies in 1993 to promote a more accurate representation of the Arab world through education and first-hand experience in the Middle East. Since then the Centre continuously invested in its facilities and curriculum to ensure that its students lived and studied in first-rate, modern buildings and classrooms while getting the best educational experience possible. Though programs and student numbers fluctuated due to local and world events, overall trends showed an ever-increasing number of students wishing to study abroad in historic Sana’a, Yemen.

Building on its strengths to meet the growing demand for study abroad programs in the Middle East, the Yemen Language Centre helped to establish YCMES in 2006 and became the Program of Arabic Language under this new umbrella, alongside the Program in Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies. In 2010, the College decided to leverage its expertise to provide Yemenis with high-end English tuition at a low price. Thus the Center for Business English was born, to be followed in 2012 by the Center for General English. YCMES takes pride in its work, and it has earned an excellent reputation among students, professors, and Yemenis alike.

The College is unique not only in Yemen; it is the first of its kind in the Middle East, designed by Honorary Dean Steven C. Caton (Harvard) to the highest academic standards. Visiting professors teach an array of courses in contemporary Middle Eastern studies which work alongside our Arabic program to offer international students an unmatched educational experience. YCMES also arranges and hosts a variety of programs aimed at cross-cultural dialogue and learning. Internships overseen by YCMES offer students a unique perspective into Yemeni organizations and local issues. A multitude of short-term programs, tailored by CMES, allow host-institutions to send a prearranged group of students to Yemen. The college also assists in scholarly research, congressional visits, site visits, and cultural orientation. With all of its academic endeavors, YCMES is a frontrunner in educating future experts in Middle Eastern culture, history, politics, religion, society, and Arabic language as well as Yemen's own future business leaders and government officials through the Centers for Business and General English.

The Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies is accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Yemen as a private, non-profit educational institution.


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