Our mission is to build understanding through teaching and learning of Silk Road languages and cultures.
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 CLASSRoad’s efforts to improve cross-cultural understanding across and between East and West in today’s world.
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The Center for Languages, Arts, & Societies of the Silk Road (CLASSRoad) was established in 2007, as an educational initiative of Human Assistance & Development International (HADI), a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of California. With a focus on projects that build language and cultural understanding of Silk Road societies, CLASSRoad has distinguished itself through the use of 21st century technologies to build learning opportunities for teachers and learners.
Since the first program cycle in 2007, CLASSRoad has been a recipient of highly competitive annual grants from STARTALK—a U.S. federal government initiative launched in 2006 to expand and improve the teaching and learning of Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Persian, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu, strategically important, yet less commonly taught, world languages (LCTLs). Through this funding, CLASSRoad has established language teacher training programs in collaboration with California State University, San Bernardino, and has developed a comprehensive online training system. CLASSRoad has recruited experts who exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development, and has contributed to the formation of an extensive educator community of practice that seeks continuous improvement in such criteria as outcomes-driven program design, standards-based curriculum planning, learner-centered approaches, excellence in selection and development of materials, and meaningful assessment of outcomes.
In 2013, CLASSRoad developed Al-Masdar, a powerfully designed digital library of rich resources for teachers and learners of Arabic language and culture in the U.S. Sponsored by the Qatar Foundation International (QFI), Al-Masdar provides the much needed, but hard-to-find, resources that Arabic language teachers need.
To address the challenge of complex state teacher certification requirements and procedures, CLASSRoad launched LangCred in March of 2015. Funded by the STARTALK, a program of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), LangCred is an interactive website displaying world language teacher certification routes from 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.