"The Middle East & Islam in Global Contexts FOCUS cluster unequivocally shaped my Duke experience in profound ways. The cluster aimed to deepen students’ understanding of the Middle East from public policy and politics, literature and religion, and documentary studies and history perspectives. As a result, I had the opportunity to participate in 7-8 person seminars with renowned professors to discuss, debate, and critically engage with discourses in Islamic and Middle Eastern scholarship from pre-Islamic poetry to the development of nation-states in the region. The program enriched classroom conversations with incredible and engaging artists, scholars, and speakers from the region. From dramatically enhancing my writing and research skills to exposing me to critical debates, the program helped me find my academic voice and was a key part of my Duke journey!"