Camelia Suleiman Appointed Interim Director of Citizen Scholars Program

Camelia Suleiman, Associate Professor of Arabic Studies in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, has been appointed Interim Director of the College of Arts & Letters Citizen Scholars program, effective January 20, 2020.

Suleiman has taught several Citizen Scholars classes since the program first began in fall 2016. The program is designed to prepare the next generation of diverse, high-achieving, and engaged citizen leaders. Students who participate are encouraged to succeed academically while gaining experience in high-impact learning environments starting their freshman year.

“I am looking forward to working with the students and faculty of Citizen Scholars,” Suleiman said. “I have been involved with the program for a long time, and I appreciate the level of engagement between the students, faculty, and the local community. I also appreciate the students’ awareness of world affairs.”

I am looking forward to working with the students and faculty of Citizen Scholars. I have been involved with the program for a long time, and I appreciate the level of engagement between the students, faculty, and the local community. I also appreciate the students’ awareness of world affairs.

Dr. Camelia Suleiman

In her role as Interim Director, Suleiman’s main focus will be to build mechanisms for a functioning faculty advisory board and mentoring system; strategize how to implement existing plans, including those having to do with the achievement system and with late entry opportunities; and attend to regular operations, including budget oversight.

"Professor Suleiman has been a committed, engaging, and highly effective teacher in the Citizen Scholars program, providing students with transformative cross-cultural experiences. Her research and teaching of Arabic and the culture and politics of the Middle East positions her well to help our students better understand the complexities of the world,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “I look forward to working with her as its Interim Director."

Suleiman recently completed a four-month fellowship as a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she conducted research on her third book, which explores the social context of Arabic in the Middle East. She hopes the book will help dispel the mystery around the decision to remove Arabic as an official language of Israel and the impact of that decision.

woman with glasses wearing a blue jacket and green shirt standing in front of a city
Dr. Camelia Suleiman on the Mt. Scopus campus of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem during her four-month fellowship as a Lady Davis Visiting Professor.


Suleiman came to Michigan State University in 2012 and has led the Arabic program since then. She also has directed the Arabic Flagship Program. Besides the Citizen Scholars program, Suleiman also works with the Muslim Studies ProgramGlobal Studies in the Arts and HumanitiesAsian Studies Center, and the Center for Gender in a Global Context.

She has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Georgetown University. Her earlier research on gender and race in American politics examined the styles of speech in the media of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama. This research received media attention in and outside the United States.

Suleiman has received a number of awards and recognitions for her work including a fellowship for Distinguished Women in Academia in 2000 from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Maof fellowship from the Israeli Council for Higher Education.