ACANS supports an initiative launched in November 2016 at the University of Ottawa to establish the Ottawa Institute for Contemporary Arabic Studies (OICAS), a unique research institute in Canada that aims at fostering the dialogue between Canadian and Arab cultures.

Unique in Canada, The Ottawa Institute for Contemporary Arabic Studies (OICAS) is a pioneering collaborative project that brings together Canadian and Arab researchers from the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Social Sciences, and Faculty of Law.

OICAS will be home to the endowed Chair in Arabic Studies (established in 1986); the BA with Minor and Major in Arabic Language and Cutlrue (established in 2006 and 2010 respectively) and the Arab Canadian Studies Research Group (established in 2011).

As an interdisciplinary academic institute, OICAS has two main functions: to pursue excellence in research in the fields of Arabic, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, and to maintain first-class teaching programs at the graduate and the undergraduate levels.

OICAS Objectives:

  1. Creating a space for dialogue between Canada and the Arab World and a center for research excellence in Arabic Studies and Arab Canadian Studies in the heart of the Nation capital;
  2. Increasing the visibility of the University of Ottawa’s leading partners in the region;
  3. Providing a much needed academic platform for intellectual and political contributions pertaining to the history and cultures of the Arabs;
  4. Optimizing the role of our partners nationally and internationally through collaborative research and community outreach;
  5. Contributing to the multicultural debate involving Arabs in Canada and fulfill the University of Ottawa’s mandate towards welcoming new comers from the Arab World in collaboration with Arab embassies in Ottawa;
  6. Establishing the first MA degree in Arabic Studies in Canada;
  7. Training researchers, practitioners and civil servants about the history, culture, politics, language and religion in the Arab World.