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Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy, Qatar Foundation International Partner to Increase Pipeline of Arabic Speakers in U.S.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt., Jan. 6, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA) announced today that it has received a grant from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI) to provide 13 student scholarships and travel stipends for this summer's Arabic Academy at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. The four-week immersion program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to accelerate Arabic language learning and cultural understanding utilizing principles of Middlebury College's Language School's renowned world language curriculum.

MMLA, operated by Middlebury Interactive Languages, and QFI are working together to increase the pipeline of Arabic speakers in the United States. Although Arabic has been designated as a "critical language" by the U.S. Department of State, currently less than one percent of all high school students enrolled in a foreign language are studying Arabic.

"Language learning has significant cognitive and academic benefits for students, and also helps students obtain a deeper understanding of other world cultures," said Director of Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy Amy Kluber. "Our ongoing partnership with QFI will increase access to MMLA's one-of-its-kind Arabic learning experience for more American students and create deeper connections to Arabic speakers and cultures around the world."

The new QFI grant provides 13 full scholarships (covering tuition, room and board, and travel costs) for deserving students interested in studying Arabic. To be eligible students must qualify for financial aid and be able to continue their Arabic studies after participating in MMLA. Over the past three years, QFI has provided 33 full scholarships for students to attend the Arabic Academy.

MMLA's Arabic Academy's faculty is composed of native and fluent Arabic speakers who have lived, worked and studied abroad and have deep connections with the Arabic language and culture. The Arabic Academy's Language Director is Fady Fadel, Ph.D., who is currently the Dean of the American Business School of Paris and professor of International Law and Political Science.

Each student at the Arabic Academy takes the Middlebury Language Pledge®, a formal commitment to speak, read and write only in Arabic during the four-week summer program. The Academy is designed to integrate culturally-authentic activities and real-world contexts into a rigorous and fun language learning program. A recent review of MMLA showed that more than 90 percent of beginning language students gained at least one level on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) performance scale, which is roughly equal to a full year of traditional classroom language instruction.

Students from low-income families are encouraged to apply before the March 31 deadline. To request QFI scholarship forms to apply for the MMLA Arabic Academy, which runs from June 21 to July 16, 2015, please email mmla.financialservices@middleburyinteractive.com. For more information on the Arabic Academy, please visit mmla.middlebury.edu.

About Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages is the academic leader in world language instruction for K-12 students. A joint venture between Middlebury College and K12 Inc., Middlebury Interactive provides access to superior language programs and prepares students with the skills and cultural understanding to compete in the 21st Century global marketplace. Middlebury Interactive has taken Middlebury College's renowned world language curriculum, developed and refined over the past 100 years, and translated it to the digital and K-12 setting. Middlebury Interactive also offers in-person language immersion summer academies for middle and high school students.

CONTACT: Cort Boulanger Boulanger Public Affairs M 339.222.2442 E cboulanger@middleburyinteractive.comSource: Middlebury Interactive Languages