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Learn about the Middle East with online courses and programs

Are you interested in expanding your knowledge of different cultures across the globe? Learn about the Middle East with online courses delivered through edX.

What is the Middle East?

At the crossroads of Asia and Africa, the region spans from the eastern Mediterranean to the Arabian Peninsula, extending into parts of North Africa. Its historical, cultural, and political significance is profound and multifaceted.

Historically, the Middle East is the cradle of human civilization, with ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) being one of the earliest centers of agriculture and urbanization. It has been a hub of trade, knowledge exchange, and the birthplace of major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 Culturally, the Middle East has a rich tapestry of diverse traditions, languages, and customs. It has contributed significantly to art, literature, music, and cuisine, enriching global culture. The region’s architecture, exemplified by the stunning mosques, palaces, and historical sites, reflects its unique blend of influences.

 Politically, the Middle East has been a focal point of international affairs due to its vast energy resources, geopolitical importance, and complex conflicts which have shaped global politics and security dynamics.

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Middle East course curriculum

If you choose to study this region, topics of interest can include the historical evolution of the Middle East, from ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia and Egypt to the rise and fall of various empires, including the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire. Course themes can cover the role and impact of major religions in the region, such as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, on culture, society, and politics. These classes may engage learners in discussions on religious diversity, sects, and interfaith relations.

 As you advance in your studies, you may choose to explore contemporary and historical geopolitical issues, including conflicts, alliances, and the role of superpowers in the Middle East. You can also examine the socio-economic factors shaping the region, such as demographics, education, healthcare, gender dynamics, and economic development, or in the current challenges and opportunities facing the Middle East.

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics including global studies, international relations, and much more. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (or more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Why learn about the Middle East?

The Middle East is a region with deep historical roots, cultural diversity, and complex political dynamics that have far-reaching implications on the global stage. Knowledge of the region can open up different professional opportunities, which may include:

  • Diplomat or foreign service officer: Represents their government in Middle Eastern countries, negotiates diplomatic agreements, and contributes to international relations and cooperation.

  • Intelligence analyst: Works for government agencies or private organizations, assessing security threats and political developments in the Middle East to inform national security strategies.

  • Journalist: Reports on Middle East events, politics, and culture.

  • International business consultant: Helps companies navigate the complexities of the region’s markets, regulations, and cultural norms.

  • Academic or researcher: Conducts in-depth research and contributes to the understanding of the region.

  • Humanitarian aid worker or NGO officer: Works in the region on projects related to refugee assistance, development, human rights advocacy, and conflict resolution.

Are you ready to grow your knowledge about the Middle East? Start with courses offered through edX.