What is the Middle East Immersion?
The Middle East Immersion (MEI) is a six-week intensive practicum designed for students from beyond the region wanting to experience firsthand the opportunities and challenges of Christian service in the Middle East. Under the mentorship of respected scholars and experienced practitioners, students in the MEI program practice intercultural work in a dynamic context and engage in mutual learning between Christian and Muslim communities.
Centered on critically reflective practice, MEI provides students an opportunity to earn academic credit and fulfill practicum requirements while being exposed to the language, peoples and cultures of one of the region’s most vibrant cities.
MEI 2017 begins 19 June in Beirut, Lebanon, and runs through July.
What will students be doing in Lebanon?
As part of their immersive experience, students:
- Participate in IMES’ annual Middle East Consultation, exploring issues of critical concern for the regional Body of Christ
- Study Levantine Arabic, the spoken language of the Lebanese
- Acquire hands-on, intercultural experience serving at a local practicum placement in and around Beirut
- Explore the many historical and natural treasures Lebanon has to offer through excursions and cultural exchanges
- Gather together regularly with fellow students and instructors for debriefing, reflection, discussion and prayer
- Learn from regional voices, experienced practitioners and international experts
- Experience first-hand God’s heart for the peoples of the Middle East
Students can earn academic credit for their participation in the following courses:
- Middle East Consultation: Hosted annually by IMES, the purpose of the Middle East
Consultation (MEC) is “to equip participants to respond in prophetic and Christ-like ways to the many challenges facing Christians and Muslims in and beyond the Middle East.” The theme for MEC 2017 is: “The Church in Disorienting Times: Leading Prophetically through Adversity.”
- Intensive Levantine Arabic: This course consists of intensive Arabic language learning through IMES’ Academy of Languages and Practical Skills (ALPS). The ALPS method, carefully developed by language specialists, is designed to introduce students to Arabic culture and daily life through the study of language.
- Cross-Cultural Work in Context: As part of this course, MEI students acquire hands-on, intercultural experience serving at a local practicum site in Lebanon. Students and faculty come together regularly to reflect critically and theologically upon their service in light of the religions, cultures, history and politics of the Middle East.
Located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, Lebanon is rich in history, archaeology, culture and religion. Exemplifying an ‘east meets west’ ethos, Lebanon has long been regarded as the gateway to the Middle East. It could be said that the capital city of Beirut embodies the beauty and pain of diversity, playing host to a dizzying array of religious and social groups.
As the epicenter of the global refugee crisis, however, Lebanon has come under immense pressure in recent years with over a quarter of its population now Syrian, Iraqi or Palestinian refugees. Yet in spite of the trauma of civil war and the current refugee crisis, Lebanon remains a place of creative ideas and intrigue, an ideal location for those called to cross-cultural service, Christian-Muslim engagement, community development, or peacebuilding.
For additional information about IMES’ Middle East Immersion program, please follow the links above or feel free to contact IMES@abtslebanon.org.