"The Arts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East: An Exploration of Art, Music, and Film" was a Summer Institute for K-12 teachers June 25 - 29, 2007. K-12 teachers from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey participated in the week-long Summer 2007 Institute. The Institute was organized by Penn’s four Title VI National Resource Centers.
The Center has been commended by the Department of Education for its Outreach Program, which works with schools and colleges, community and religious groups, government and military institutions, and the general public to raise awareness and understanding of issues in the Middle East and their importance to our communities.
As film has become an increasingly popular medium for understanding and appreciating the diversity and human issues of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East, we are proud to partner with International House to bring the latest in Middle Eastern film to Penn’s campus and to the wider community. The Middle East Center has been a co-sponsor of Middle East Week at IHouse, with a special series of films from Syria featured in 2007, and shorter film festivals featuring films from Turkey and animation from Iran in previous years.
On March 25, the Middle East Center, the Education Department of the Penn Museum, and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia held a day long workshop on “Iran: Ancient and Modern” for 30 middle and high school teachers from the Delaware Valley.
On March 3, the Middle East Center co-sponsored with the Penn Museum’s Education Department a special workshop for the Center for Talented Youth Program of Johns Hopkins University. Middle Schoolers and their families from as far away as Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and New York came to the Museum to hear a variety of speakers on modern and ancient Egypt, including the Center’s Research Assistant, Ed Webb, Ph.D. candidate in the Political Science Department.
In partnership with the Painted Bride Art Center, the Middle East Center sponsored this academic year two well attended workshop/performances at the Community College of Philadelphia, as part of the Center’s ongoing initiative with faculty at CCP to strengthen and integrate Middle East subjects into their curricula. Over 375 students and faculty total attended “Odessa to Istanbul: The Fermentation of European Klezmer with Classical Arabic Music” and Hip-Hop artist and human beatbox Yuri Lane’s “From Tel Aviv to Ramallah,” which was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award in 2004.
Teach-In and Discussion - The February 11 War on Gaza: Teach-In is one in a series of discussion panels co-sponsored by the Middle East Center and aimed at educating the public and discussing the issues surrounding the recent invasion of Gaza by the Israeli Army. The teach-in features both student and faculty voices. The second installation of the series is taking place on March 23.
Media Conference - On Friday, January 23, the Middle East Center will be a proud co-sponsor of the one-day Iran Media Conference taking place at the Annenberg School for Communication. The workshop is entitled "Iran's Media Thirty Years After the Revolution: The State, New Spaces, and Identity in the Islamic Republic" and the event features a large group of renowned interdisciplinary speakers to examine the role of new media in Iran's socio-political context.
In August 2006, the Middle East Center organized and hosted with the assistance of Education for Peace in Iraq Center an extraordinary off-the-record, day long conference bringing together military officers from the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade and chief representatives of international NGOs working in Iraq to discuss outstanding issues of concern and engage in dialogue in order to communicate better their respective missions. This followed two day long workshops held for the officers in August and September 2005 on politics and society in Iraq and issues of corruption and regional politics in the post-war era.
We partner frequently with the other area studies centers on campus. In June 2006, the Middle East Center, Center for East Asian Studies, South Asia Center, and Africa Studies Center held a week long summer institute for middle and high school teachers, “Teaching about Islam Across the Continents: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.” Featuring pedagogical and content experts on all regions, this highly competitive institute included educators from public and private, suburban and urban schools and even home school teachers from New Jersey and the Delaware Valley.
In 2006 we initiated with the Turkish American Friendship Society - US and helped organize a semester-long professional development program on Turkey for humanities and social sciences professors at the Community College, which culminated in a week long intensive workshop in Istanbul. This followed a highly successful year of programming on Egypt at CCP as part of their Title VI grant on the Middle East in 2005, capped by a week long workshop in Cairo with various experts on ancient and modern Egypt, organized by Penn Ph.D. student Stacey Philbrick Yadav and all supported by the Middle East Center.