Founded in 1981, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) is a private nonprofit federation of independent overseas research centers (ORCs) that promote advanced research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with a focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies. CAORC fosters research projects across national boundaries, encourages collaborative research and programmatic and administrative coherence among member centers, and works to expand their resource base and service capacity. CAORC member centers maintain a permanent presence in the host countries where they operate—in Europe, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and West Africa. The centers are the primary vehicle through which American scholars carry out research vital to our understanding of and intersection with other cultures. Some centers have existed for over a century while others were founded in the decades following World War II in response to American scholarly needs and host country invitations. Nearly four hundred American universities, colleges, and museums hold multiple memberships in the centers which serve their institutional members, individual fellows and members, and affiliated scholars through a broad range of research- and teaching-support services. Funding is awarded from sources including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as from private foundations and individuals.
American overseas research centers (ORCs) promote international scholarly exchange, primarily through sponsorship of fellowship programs, foreign language study, and collaborative research projects. They facilitate access to research resources, provide a forum for contact and exchange, offer library and technical support and accommodation, and disseminate information to the scholarly and general public through conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and publications. Because of the centers’ contributions to the generation of knowledge, the creation of area expertise, and cordial relations between the United States and the host countries, scholars seek CAORC’s help in establishing similar centers in other parts of the world.
The members of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers have centers in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, West Africa, and Yemen. They serve as a base for many American scholars undertaking research in the host countries.
About CAORC Member Centers
-CAORC member centers are located in countries of vital importance to the United States. Most American overseas research centers (ORCs) are located in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
-CAORC member centers have an impact on thousands of U.S. students. The ORCs are responsible for taking thousands of U.S. students and scholars from universities across America to places overseas where study and research are difficult to negotiate.
-CAORC member centers are relied upon by U.S. universities and colleges. 400 American educational institutions in 47 states holding nearly 1,100 institutional memberships in 24 ORCs around the world rely on the ORCs to fund and support research and study overseas.
-CAORC member centers are cost-effective. The ORCs facilitate research, conduct programs, and inform the American public, all while operating with very low administrative costs.
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