The development of an African region-al studies program was an important con-cern of the University of Khartoum when it became a degree-granting institution in 1956. In 1964 the University established the Sudan Research Unit within the Faculty of Arts which focused upon humanities studies in the Sudan. To implement research on the Sudan, the Unit trained Sudanese researchers in Sudanese languages and in recording techni-ques of the collection of oral and written traditions. The results of their research were published in reports and periodicals and have been presented at international con-ferences sponsored by the Sudan Research Unit. As the Sudan increased its involvement in both the African and Arab worlds, Univer-sity administrators and scholars agreed that the scope of research within the Sudan Re-search Unit should be widened to include neighboring countries in Africa and the Middle East. In 1972 the Sudan Research Unit was transformed into the Institute of African and Asian Studies (IAAS).