The Center for Languages, Arts, & Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad) was established in 2007 HADI. The historic Silk Road, dating back to 5,000 B.C., is well known for connecting the numerous far-flung civilizations, cultures, and faiths of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Through trade, pilgrimage, conquest, diplomacy, and the exchange of knowledge and science, human societies intermingled and transformed each other. The Silk Road provides a powerful metaphor for HADI’s efforts to improve cross-cultural understanding across and between East and West in today’s world.
CLASSRoad is among the annual recipients of the highly competitive STARTALK grants since 2008 which is a multi-million dollar federal funding administered by the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. Through this grant, CLASSRoad has established Arabic teacher training programs in collaboration with California State University at San Bernardino and has developed a comprehensive online training system. CLASSRoad is a pioneer in developing online Arabic teacher training workshops. Individuals seeking to enhance their Arabic teaching skills can enroll in these courses. HADI intends to develop similar teacher training courses centered on Persian and Turkish and Teaching English as a Second Language.
CLASSRoad is also among the recipients of an important grant by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in 2018. Through this grant the BRIGHT Teacher Training pilot program was launched in October 2019 for an online course developed in collaboration with the National Humanities Center (NHC) that provides disciplinary approaches to promoting civil discourse in the pre-collegiate course. Through this professional development course, teachers in California public schools can gain an understanding of the specific ways in which the humanities can open the conversation around civility and comity. The training draws from examples in history, philosophy, art history, literature, and politics. Teacher participants are able to create curricular connections and classroom activities that follow the same model. In a time at which our nation is plagued with mass-shootings and rhetoric of violence and hate, this important training will equip teachers to grapple with the realities of such a climate in the classrooms. Overall, the course looks to address the lack of civility leading to hate and violence in our communities.
CLASSRoad organizes arts programs, film screenings, and other cultural events in California. For example, in partnership with SK Films, in 2009 CLASSRoad organized premier screenings at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, of Journey to Mecca, an award-winning IMAX documentary film that chronicles the life and times of Ibn Battuta during his first pilgrimage to Mecca. In 2008, CLASSRoad hosted “A Night of Rumi” at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, featuring a screening of Peaceful Warrior, starring Nick Nolte.