Center News

Announcing the MEC-SSRC 2010 Grant Project: "New Voices, New Media: Artists and Academics on Islam

The Middle East Center is proud to announce a new project funded by the Social Science Research Council's "Academia and the Public Sphere" Grants program.  The project "New Voices, New Media: Artists and Academics on Islam" will establish an Artist in Residency program at Penn through the MEC over the next year.  The Artists in Residents will work closely with Middle East specialists at Penn to enhance their work and create a new work of art inspired by the work of faculty here at Penn.  See below for an overview of the program, more information and application materials are forthcoming.

“New Voices, New Media: Artists and Academics on Islam.” As noted in our proposal:

            "This program recognizes the important role that artists play in shaping the debate on Islam in the United States. In an effort to encourage collaboration between our academics (social scientists, literary theorists, historians, anthropologists) and area artists, the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania proposes to initiate an Artist-in-Residence Program. We plan to select and invite three artists to spend a three-month residency at Penn’s Middle East Center. The Artist-in-Residence Program will build on the exemplary outreach activities of the Middle East Center (MEC) in the past two years that have successfully bridged the worlds of academia and the arts."

Persian Teachers' Workshop - The Middle East Center, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the National Middle East Language Resource Center at Brigham Young University are hosting a workshop for post-secondary teachers of Persian from Friday, February 5th to Sunday, February 7th. The workshop will focus on new pedagogical techniques and the development of new curricula for the Persian language. This event is by invitation only.

The Penn Libraries announced the appointment of Waleed el-Shobaki to the position of Middle East Studies Librarian. Mr. el-Shobaki comes to Penn from The John Rylands University Library of the University of Manchester.

Middle East Center staff and graduate students are assisting the Middle East Studies course at Moorestown Friends School this semester.  Mr. Joel Hager's 12th grade class will be treated to four guest lectures sponsored by the Center on topics such as "The Ottoman Empire, Turkey and Nationalism in the Middle East", "Modern History of Israel", "Modern Arabic Literature" and "20th Century US Foreign Policy in the Middle East".

NELC Professor Joseph Lowry has just released a new edited volume from Harrasowitz Verlag entitled Essays in Arabic Literary Biography II: 1350-1850.

Monroe Price, Director of the Annenberg Center for Global Communications Studies has published a new memoir entitled Objects of Remembrance: A Memoir of American Opportunities and Viennese Dreams (Available now from Central European University Press).

Our Director Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Professor of History, and Prof. Beth S. Wenger, Director the Jewish Studies Center and Associate Professor of History, have received funding from the Mellon Cultural Diversity Conference Fund to organize a conference discussing gender in Judaism and Islam.

Global Education Lab: Workshop for teachers

The Middle East Center, in collaboration with three other National Resource Centers at Penn and Global Education Lab, will host a workshop for teachers on October 24, 2009.  This workshop will provide teachers and administrators with the information and experience they need to establish a new global education program, deepen and enrich existing programs, and to provide an inspiring and invigorating intellectual experience.

For more information, please visit

A Two-session Seminar at Camden County College

The Middle East Center and the Center for Civic Leadership & Responsibility at Camden County College present a two-session seminar "Breaking Barriers to Better Understanding: Teaching The Middle East in the K-12 Classroom" on October 5 and 12.  The Middle East will be assessed from a multidisciplinary perspective.  Students will discuss Foreign Policy, History, Religion and Culture with area experts highlighting how to best integrate the Middle East into the classroom.  Experts will illuminate how regions differ, explaining the peculiarities of Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, as well as how they fit into the multicultural and geopolitical framework. 

For registration, please download this.

International Student Welcome Reception

The International Student Welcome Reception is a special event hosted by International Classroom and sponsored by more than 50 colleges, universities, and programs to welcome new international students and scholars to the Delaware Valley. The 2009 event was held on October 9, 2009. This free event draws around 1,000 students and scholars from around 90 different countries each year.

Different college and community performing arts groups loved to share their talent and skills with the international guests. Hype, Penn University’s multi-cultural fusion dance group; Penn Chinese Dance Group; Thillana, Penn’s premier student classical dance group; Mutya, a Filipino dance group; LaSalle University’s Neo-African Drums’n Dancez; Rowan University musicians; and Anne Hagert from the University of the Arts have all volunteered their time and expertise to entertain our international guests.