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Layan Charara, BA, 2015

Field of Study: BA in AAPTIS and Economics

Graduation Year: 2015

My concentration in the Department of Near Eastern Studies was one of the defining features of my undergraduate career at the University of Michigan. Being a student of this department allowed me to sustain my connection to my Lebanese roots by studying Arabic and the history and politics of the Middle East. My NES concentration was of great use when I studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey and during my time as a participant in UM’s Michigan in Washington program, during which I interned at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. Moreover, as a NES student, I had the singular opportunity to collaborate with accomplished professors from the department on my honors thesis, for which I earned Highest Honors.

Two years after graduating from the NES department, I continue to reap the benefits of my degree. I am currently a second year law student at the University of Michigan Law School. My coursework and extracurricular activities have an international focus, particularly on the Middle East. I am a student attorney and the policy director for the Law School’s chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project, where my language skills and knowledge of the Middle East are invaluable. This past summer, I worked at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Beirut, Lebanon, where my NES background, coupled with my legal training, provided for a remarkable and rewarding learning experience. I hope to continue to use my NES degree after graduating from law school to work on rule of law and development issues in the Middle East.