Penn logo


Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)


News & Events


A Lost Queen of the Sun? Tel Beth Shemesh, the Age of Amarna, and the Mysterious “Mistress of the Lions”

A talk by Zvi Lederman Director, Tel Beth Shemesh Expedition, Israel
November 13, 2017 at 5;00PM in Classroom 2 of the Penn Museum
For more information, visit

Celebrate Dr. Gold's New Book, Haifa: City of Steps

Thursday, October 19, 2017 5:00pm - 7:00pm Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 401

3340 Walnut Street
University of Pennsylvania

The talk will be followed by a reception, and the Penn Book Center will have the book available for sale.

Fall 2016 Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative Visiting Fellow a 2005 NELC grad!

In this role, Ms. Vinograd brings both expertise in economic and national security policymaking at the federal level, as well as rich experience in engaging the private sector and spurring public-private dialog on global policy concerns. Through events, meetings, and workshops, Ms. Vinograd will share her knowledge of the DC policy landscape with students and faculty. She is Penn Wharton PPI’s fourth Visiting Fellow; previous Fellows have included former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, and Mark Patters, former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of the Treasury under Secretary Tim Geithner.
Read more....

"Ur in the 21st Century CE," the 62nd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale Conference will be hosted by PENN this month. Dr. Frame is conference coordinator. Read more....

Jennifer Houser Wegner and Josef Wegner of Arts and Sciences and the Museum have chronicled the history of the Sphinx in a new book with rare photos, documents and maps.
"The Sphinx That Traveled to Philadelphia: The Story of the Colossal Sphinx in the Penn Museum

Dr. Frame has won a fourth NEH grant to continue his project translating all known royal inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian kings from Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BCE) to the reign of Esarhaddon (680-669 BCE), bringing the total to almost $950,000. Read more…

Adnan Zulfiqar, PhD candidate in Arabic and Islamic Studies, was awarded a Dissertation Fellowship by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation for his thesis "If Some Obey, Then None Shall Sin: The Development of Communal Obligations and Their Relationship to Violence in Islamic Law."

PhD student, Omar Foda, has been named a 2015 Dean's Scholar for his outstanding academic record and intellectual promise. Omar will be awarded the doctorate this May.

Dr. Åke Sjöberg, Professor of Assyriology in the department from 1966 to 1996, passed away August 8 in his native Sweden, just a week after celebrating his 90th birthday. Known for his incredible sense of humor, Dr. Sjöberg was a driving force behind the Sumerian Dictionary Project and the conservation of thousands of stone Sumerian tablets at the University Museum. Dr. Jeffrey Tigay, who worked alongside Dr. Sjöberg for many years, said "He was a superb scholar and a wonderful, warm, welcoming colleague, just the kind of person who made the department such a great place for all of us to work."

Adnan Zulfiqar, PhD candidate in Arabic & Islamic Studies and recent graduate of PENN Law, was featured on a recent BBC broadcast. He was interviewed on his insights and interpretations of recent events in Turkey. The full interview can be seen on YouTube here: Adnan Zulfiqar on the BBC

Kathleen Norland Human Rights First is next stop for fellowship winner Kathleen Norland

Penn Law student Kathleen Norland L’13 has been awarded the inaugural 2013-14 ACE Rule of Law & Human Rights Fellowship. This innovative post-graduate fellowship, given annually to a Penn Law student or recent graduate pursuing an international public-interest career, supports a year of work with Human Rights First, a preeminent legal advocacy organization.


Bensalem Himmich and Roger Allen   Bensalem Himmich and Roger Allen

Dr. Roger Allen has been named the 2012 winner of the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for his translation of the Arabic novel A Muslim Suicide by Bensalem Himmich, published by Syracuse University Press. The judges' decision was unanimous. The award ceremony will be held at King's Place in London on February 4, 2013. More information on the prize, the nominees and the award ceremony can be found on The Banipal Trust for Arabic Literature website at Congratulations, Dr. Allen!

Congratulation to Dr. David Stern! He has been selected as the Radcliffe Institute fellow at Harvard University for the 2011-2012 academic year. Dr. Stern will work on his project, A History of the Jewish Book from Antiquity to the Present Day: The Biographies of 120 Books.

We are proud to announce that Dr. Heather Sharkey has received the 2011 Charles Ludwig Distingued Teaching Award.  Established in 2004 by the College Alumni Society, the award was named in memory of the organization’s long-time president. It recognizes School of Arts and Sciences standing faculty members who show an extraordinary commitment to the engagement of students as active and interactive participants in the learning process.
Says Dr. Sharkey, "I'm particularly gratified by this award because it relies so heavily on students' nominations."
Congratulations, Dr. Sharkey!


Paul M. Cobb, Associate Professor of Medieval Islamic History, has published a new book, co-edited with Antoine Borrut, entitled "Umayyad Legacies: Medieval Memories from Syria to Spain" (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010), a collections of papers on Islam's first dynasty from an international, interdisciplinary conference he organized in Damascus in 2006.