Center News

The Middle East Center congratulates affiliated Professor Jamal J. Elias (Religious Studies) for receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship for the Humanities. Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Jamal J. Elias is Class of 1965 Endowed Term Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of South Asia Studies, and is a member of the Graduate Groups in Ancient History and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

While a Guggenheim Fellow, he will pursue a major research project on the history of the Mevlevi Sufi order (sometimes called the "Whirling Dervishes") from its inception in the 13th century until the advent of the modern era.

The Greater Philadelphia Global Education Network website has been launched! To check out the new website go to:

We at the Middle East Center welcome David Giovacchini as Penn Library's new Middle East Studies Librarian. David manages Penn's print and electronic collections related to the Middle East, both in Middle Eastern and west European languages. In addition to selecting materials, David is available for research consultations and provides library support to Middle East studies classes.

David holds a B.A. from Cornell University with a double major in History and Middle East Studies. He received a Master s degree and completed all coursework up to his dissertation at Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies, specializing in Muslim extremist groups, and the Islamic concept of the Mahdi, or messiah, as these developed over time. David has a broad knowledge of both the modern Middle East and the culture and history of the Classical Islamic world. His current interests include Middle East popular culture and its political implications.

Training Session for Departing Armed Forces Members: On June 1, 2011 the Middle East Center hosted a workshop for military offices preparing to be deployed to Iraq on the history and politics of Kurds in Iraq featuring Prof. Brendan O'Leary (PSCI) and Visiting Scholar Prof. Khaled Salih. The session answered many of the soldier's questions about the new Iraqi constitution as well as resource management in the area. 

Teachers' Workshop: Battlegrounds: Tour Battleground: War Rugs from Afghanistan, a traveling exhibition arranged by the Textile Museum of Canada, and the newly re-installed Iraq's Ancient Past: Rediscovering the Royal Tombs of Ur.  Meet a speaker from Iraq affiliated with the Museum's International Classroom program.  Learn how you can dialogue with your students about war when you meet an artist affiliated with the American Friends Service Committee's "Windows and Mirrors" exhibition.  Enhance your understanding of Afghanistan through a presentation by Penn professor Dr. James Caron.
Registration is required by Monday, May 9, 2011. A $15 non-refundable deposit is due at time of registration.

Saturday, May 14, 2011
9:00am - 3:00pm
Penn Museum
Fee: $30

Lunch provided
6 Act 48 credit hours and NJ Professional Development Certification available for educators
Co-sponsored by the Middle East Center

The Middle East Center congratulates Yuval Orr, a member of the class of 2011 majoring in Modern Middle East Studies, for receiving the Gantz Family Undergraduate Award for his project entitled Sounds of National Struggle: Hip-Hop and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

A UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy has been established at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. The first of its kind at a U.S. school of education, the UNESCO Chair will focus on the achieving UN Millennium Development Goals in the area of basic education and literacy in the world's poorest countries.

Established within Penn's International Literacy Institute (ILI), the UNESCO Chair will be held by Dr. Daniel Wagner, a professor of education at Penn GSE and Director of the ILI.

UNESCO chairs are created as part of a bilateral partnership between UNESCO and universities committed to the goals of the United Nations. There are currently over 600 UNESCO chairs in 128 countries. The UNESCO Chair at Penn is the 18th chair in the United States.

To read the full announcement on Penn Almanac, visit here.

Marie Grace Brown (HIST) has been interviewed for the SAS monthly magazine, FRONTIERS. To read the article, please visit here.

Our language faculty members (Dr. Pardis Minuchehr and Dr. Feride Hatiboglu) received the 2011 STARTALK grants for summer programs for teachers of Persian and Turkish.

On February 17, 2011, Professor Eve Troutt Powell (History) discussed the origins of the uprising in Egypt with The Current. To read the full article, visit here.