Indiana University teaches on average more than 70 foreign languages a year, easily the most foreign languages taught by any university in the United States. With several of the top programs in the most commonly learned languages, Spanish and French, the university is also known for many ancient and unique languages. Starting in the spring, that will include a planned offering of the African language of Kinyarwanda, a native language spoken in Rwanda.
"Through the offering of Kinyarwanda, the African Studies Program hopes to support student engagement in Rwanda through study and service abroad, as well as faculty research," said Tavy Aherne, associate director of the African Studies Program in IU's School of Global and International Studies.
"Moreover, one of Indiana's largest immigrant/refugee populations now comprises Kinyarwanda speakers from Rwanda and Congo," Aherne said. "We see potential for supporting heritage speakers in Indiana, as well as offering this language to students interested in education, international studies, business, public and environmental affairs and other areas."
The African Studies Program hopes to offer accelerated Kinyarwanda as early as spring 2019, with proposals to teach beginning and intermediate Kinyarwanda starting in fall 2019.
"With the addition of Kinyarwanda, IU will regularly support the teaching of eight African languages," Aherne said.
Indiana University's strength in foreign languages is just another mark of the university's global engagement and the opportunity to ensure students are ready to serve as global practitioners. The African Studies Program is a Title VI center for the development of American expertise in critical languages and cultures, as well as for fostering international education.
Eleven of IU's areas studies centers and programs were recently awarded grant funding for 18 separate programs under the Department of Education's prestigious Title VI program. This includes the African Studies Program, which was also designated one of eight School of Global and International Studies programs that will be National Resource Centers.