Sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, the Critical Language Scholarships Program was launched in 2006. In its inaugural year, the Program offered intensive overseas study in the critical-need foreign languages of Arabic, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu. In 2007, Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Russian institutes were added along with increased student capacity in the inaugural language institutes.
The Program is part of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), a U.S. government interagency effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Scholarship recipients - U.S. citizen undergraduate, Master's and Ph.D. students and recent graduates - receive funding to participate in beginning, intermediate and advanced level summer language programs at American Overseas Research Centers and affiliated partners. Recipients are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers. Applications are usually due in January. Go to the Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes webpage for more details.