Courtesy of Laura Rostad

NEWS & EVENTS

The Middle East Center at Penn sponsors and supports programs and initiatives across the disciplines and professional schools, and runs a dynamic outreach program in the Delaware Valley. Faculty and students at Penn are also active and prominent in the field of Middle East studies, making significant and highly regarded contributions to scholarly output in their areas of interest. We will continue to update news of the Center's activities and highlight the achievements of our faculty and students here.

Mar
4
Ayodele Gansallo, Mia-lia Kiernan, Shamaine Daniels, Fariha Khan International Women's Day 2015: Global Migrant Rights & Justice RSVP: http://ihousephilly.org/calendar/international-women-s-day-2015-global-migrant-rights-justice Join us for a performance by the Anna Crusis Women's Choir, refreshments and discussion celebrating local and global initiatives advocating for the rights of migrant women and their families. Speakers will explore the intersection of immigrant rights, women's rights & children's rights and the impact of immigration policies and enforcement in the U.S. and abroad. This is a One Book, One Philadelphia community program and encourages reading and discussion around a single book. This year’s selection, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, explores children’s courage & adaptability and the power of family. Our Panelists: Ayodele Gansallo, Immigration Attorney & EducatorMia-lia Kiernan, Founder & Organizer, 1 Love Movement Shamaine Daniels, Harrisburg CouncilwomanFariha Khan, Associate Director, Asian American Studies UPenn (moderator) RSVP: http://ihousephilly.org/calendar/international-women-s-day-2015-global-m...
6:00pm
International House, 3701 Chestnut St. South America Room
Mar
4
Dr. Jamal J. Elias, University of Pennsylvania Islam in the World Today Jamal J. Elias, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss how Islam is one of the world’s largest religions and one of the most influential global forces of our time. Yet religions – as sets of beliefs or as social practices – are not monolithic and static, nor does a religion exist independent of its expression in human life. This lecture will introduce Islam as it is lived and practiced today, paying special attention to the ways in which Muslims attempt to negotiate their lives as a combination of constant change and the desire to remain faithful to notions of piety and virtue located in an idealized past. Apart from the ongoing academic lectures and programs at the Middle East Center, this six-part lecture series at the Camden County College is part of Center’s community college outreach initiatives. Our past programs with the Camden County College included topics such as arts, history, culture, and religion in the Middle East. It is free and open to public. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Mar
25
Dr. Abbas Milani, Stanford University The Future of Modernity in Iran: Culture Wars Abbas Milani is the Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University and a Professor (by courtesy) in the Division of Stanford Global Studies and a co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. Until 1986, he taught at Tehran University's Faculty of Law and Political Science. In his twelve years at Stanford, he has taught courses on modern Iranian politics, culture and religion. He has published more than twenty books and two hundred articles and book reviews.  His latest book is The Shah (Palgrave, 2011). He has appeared on major news and opinion programs here in America and around the world. He is a contributing editor to The New Republic.
5:30pm
B26- Stiteler Hall, 208 South 37th Street Philadelphia PA, 19104
Mar
25
Ambassador William Luers, Director of The Iran Project US Policy and Diplomacy in the Middle East Ambassador William Luers, Director of The Iran Project and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, has worked on backchannel diplomacy with Iran for nearly a decade. He has engaged with the US and Iranian negotiation teams at the highest levels, and written numerous articles, op-eds and reports on the diplomatic strategy with Iran and US policy implications. In this new and uncertain time in US-Iran relations, Ambassador Luers provides unique insight into regional and US national security implications of a nuclear agreement. Apart from the ongoing academic lectures and programs at the Middle East Center, this six-part lecture series at the Camden County College is part of Center’s community college outreach initiatives. Our past programs with the Camden County College included topics such as arts, history, culture, and religion in the Middle East. It is free and open to public. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Mar
26
Dr. Lerna Ekmekcioglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Survivors into Minorities: Armenians in Post-Genocide Turkey Lerna Ekmekcioglu is McMillan-Stewart Assistant Professor of History at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) and her PhD from NYU in 2010 in the joint program of the Department of History and the Department of Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies. She is the co-editor of the 2006 volume Bir Adalet Feryadı, Osmanlı’dan Cumhuriyet’e Beş Ermeni Feminist Yazar (1862-1933), [A Cry for Justice: Five Armenian Feminist Writers from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic (1862-1933)], (Aras Publishing House, Istanbul). She works on Armenians in Istanbul after the 1915 Armenian Genocide with a particular attention on the gendered survival and feminist responses to traditionalism.
5:15pm
Stiteler Hall B21, 208 South 37th Street
Mar
30
The Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce this year’s essay contest for undergraduates, for a first place prize of $500 awarded by the Center.  Additionally, the Center will award one honorable mention prize of $200. The competition is open to all current Penn undergraduates. Essays may deal with any topic within the context of the modern Middle East, broadly defined geographically. Papers addressing any aspect of the Middle East from the late eighteenth century to present will be considered for the prize. All entries should be the student’s original work and previously not published elsewhere. Please submit entries to ekula@sas.upenn.edu with the subject “Undergraduate Essay Contest” no later than March 30th, 2015 by 5 p.m. Essays should range from 3000 to 5000 words, not including notes, charts, appendices and bibliography. Please use MLA citation when submitting papers.
5:00pm
Mar
31
The Middle East Center is organizing a lunch for students majoring or minoring in Modern Middle Eastern Studies.  MMES Major Advisor Dr. Kashani-Sabet and MEC Associate Director Mehmet Darakcioglu will host the lunch. Please join us and your fellow students at noon on Tuesday, March 31st, for food and drinks.   If you have friends who are interested in studying the Modern Middle East, please feel free to invite them. 135 Fisher-Bennett Hall, 3340 Walnut Street
12:00pm
135 Fisher-Bennett Hall, 3340 Walnut Street
Mar
31
Pulitzer International Student Reporting Fellowship Program Pulitzer Student Fellowship Application 2015.docx Interested in issues that are under-reported in mainstream American media? Going abroad this summer to South Asia or the Middle East? Apply to be an International Reporting Student Fellow!   Who Any Penn student who is traveling to South Asia or the Middle East over the summer of 2015 is welcome to apply. Go deeper in your Penn global education by becoming a student journalist for the Pulitzer Center, a leading journalism organization with deep experience covering global issues. Previous journalism experience is not a requirement but an open mind and a willingness to write, photograph and/or create videos is necessary. Center editors will work closely with the fellows on storytelling strategies, reporting methods and travel logistics. The fellows will participate in a Pulitzer Center-conducted workshop before leaving as well as mentorship and editorial support in the field. Two winning fellows, one focused on South Asia and one on the Middle East,  will complete news articles, short videos, slideshows or other media products, with editorial support and mentorship. The fellows will help illuminate another part of the world for the Penn community and beyond. The fellows’ work will be published on the Pulitzer Center site and possibly other outlets. The fellows will also be expected to participate in outreach efforts for the South Asia Center or Middle East Center upon return to campus. The winning fellows will receive $500 upon completion of the deliverables, plus invaluable editorial support and mentorship. The fellowship program is the result of collaboration between the South Asia Center and Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Applicants should be committed to taking on the role of a journalist for the course of the fellowship. This means asking questions and going deeper into stories. To get a handle on the differences between journalism and advocacy or public relations, please read the Pulitzer Center’s Ethics and Standards Policy. Where The reporting project can be anywhere in South Asia or the Middle East. When The 2015 application deadline is 11:59PM Tuesday March 31st. The application form and instructions appear below.  The fellows will be required to attend a workshop with the mentoring journalist at Penn in April. Date TBD. The fellow will be selected and announced by Friday April 10th. The fellow will be expected to complete work associated with the fellowship by the end of August 2015. How The fellow will be expected to produce several media pieces such as blog posts for the Pulitzer Center website, articles, video and/or slideshows. The fellow will work with Pulitzer Center editors to determine a set of deliverables for the project appropriate to the fellow’s past experience. The Center will provide technical and editorial support through the planning, reporting, and writing/production phases of the fellowship. The strongest applications will identify an untold story and present a clear, succinct plan for telling that story. Take a look at reporting on the Pulitzer Center's site to get an idea of how journalists pitch their projects and to avoid pitching a story idea that has already been covered. Representatives of the South Asia Center and Middle East Center at Penn and the Pulitzer Center will evaluate applications and choose the fellow. If you have questions about the grant or the Pulitzer Center, please contact studentfellows@pulitzercenter.org  Pulitzer Student Fellowship Application 2015.docx
11:45pm
Apr
1
Paul Cruickshank, CNN Terrorism Analyst The Evolving Terrorist Threat Paul Cruickshank, CNN’s Terrorism Analyst, documentary film producer, and investigative reporter specializing in Al Qaeda, ISIS and Jihadist terrorists will explain how the resurgence of these groups poses a threat to the American homeland. Cruickshank is the co-author of the 2014 spy thriller Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda, a five volume collection of key scholarly research on the terrorist network. Apart from the ongoing academic lectures and programs at the Middle East Center, this six-part lecture series at the Camden County College is part of Center’s community college outreach initiatives. Our past programs with the Camden County College included topics such as arts, history, culture, and religion in the Middle East. It is free and open to public. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Apr
2
Michael A. Cook, Princeton University Muhammad’s Deputies in Medina Michael Cook is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.  He was educated at Kings College, Cambridge.  Before joining the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton in 1986, he taught for twenty years in the History Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1990 and received a Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002.  His field is the history of the Islamic world.  His books include The Koran: a very short introduction (2000); Commanding right and forbidding wrong in Islamic thought (2000); A brief history of the human race (2003); Studies in the origins of early Islamic culture and tradition (2004); and Ancient religions, modern politics: the Islamic case in comparative perspective (2014).  He is the general editor of The New Cambridge History of Islam (2010).
5:15pm
Stiteler Hall B26, 208 South 37th Street
Apr
8
Dr. Amy Singer, Tel Aviv University Enter, Riding on an Elephant: One Way to Approach Ottoman Edirne Amy Singer (Ph.D. Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, 1989) was born in Washington, D.C. and teaches Ottoman and Turkish History in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. She is the author, most recently, of Charity in Islamic Societies (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and, in her current research on the city of Edirne, is using digital tools like Geographical Information Systems to enhance the study of history.
4:00pm
Stiteler Hall B21, 208 South 37th Street
Apr
9
Dr. Najeeb Shafiq, University of Pittsburgh The Social Benefits of Education in the Middle East and South Asia M. Najeeb Shafiq is Associate Professor of Education, Economics, and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He holds appointments in the School of Education (primary appointment), Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (joint appointment), and Department of Economics (secondary appointment). As an education economist, Professor Shafiq adopts an interdisciplinary approach and advanced quantitative methods to explore the following topics: • The social and non-pecuniary benefits of education (education effects on civic, moral, and political outcomes) • Education reform (educational privatization; teacher performance pay) • Human capital decisions (labor market benefits; gender gaps; child labor) Prior to arriving in Pittsburgh in 2010, Professor Shafiq held appointments at the World Bank, Washington and Lee University, and Indiana University at Bloomington. In Spring 2014, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He received his Ph.D in Economics and Education from Columbia University in 2005. For more information and free access to his research papers, please visit his faculty webpage.
2:30pm
GSE Room 120
Apr
15
Dr. Mehmet Darakcioglu, Associate Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Middle East Center Changing Lanes: Turkey and the Crisis in the Middle East Mehmet Darakcioglu, Associate Director of the University of Penn’s Middle East Center, will discuss how the Republic of Turkey, founded after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, adopted a cautious approach in its foreign policy to steer clear of regional or global conflicts. Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, summarized this policy in his famous quote as: “peace at home, peace in the world.” Though one can debate how successful Turkey was in living up to this ideal, it has adopted a non-interventionist foreign policy with some exceptions and aligned with the Western world as a NATO member since the beginning of the Cold War. Turkey began to follow a more proactive foreign policy under the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) in the past decade and took a keen interest in the affairs of the Arab Middle East. Though Turkey’s projection of soft power initially yielded successful results the country finds itself embroiled in serious regional problems related to Syria and to the rise of ISIS. This talk will analyze how Turkish foreign policy continues to evolve in the face of the continuing crisis in the Middle East. Apart from the ongoing academic lectures and programs at the Middle East Center, this six-part lecture series at the Camden County College is part of Center’s community college outreach initiatives. Our past programs with the Camden County College included topics such as arts, history, culture, and religion in the Middle East. It is free and open to public. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Apr
22
Dr. Larry P. Goodson, Professor of Middle East Studies U.S. Policy and Strategy Toward Afghanistan and Pakistan Larry Goodson, Professor of Middle East Studies, Department of National Security and Strategy, will discuss how as the Afghan War enters its 13th year with no end in sight, Afghanistan’s neighbors continue to display divergent interests and a willingness to meddle in Afghanistan. In particular, Pakistan still sees its interests served by supporting the Taliban that stand in opposition to the Afghanistan government, despite the connection between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan’s domestic terrorist groups that threaten its internal stability. Meanwhile, the United States and its NATO partners want to conclude the Afghanistan mission, but cannot quite do so with the region still so unsettled. What should U.S. policy and strategy be going forward? Apart from the ongoing academic lectures and programs at the Middle East Center, this six-part lecture series at the Camden County College is part of Center’s community college outreach initiatives. Our past programs with the Camden County College included topics such as arts, history, culture, and religion in the Middle East. It is free and open to public. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College
Apr
29
Dr. Michael Boyle, Assistant Professor Political Science, LaSalle University The Iraq Wars: American Policy from Saddam Hussein to ISIS Michael Boyle, PH.D, Assistant Professor Political Science, LaSalle University, will discuss, why is President Obama the fourth consecutive American president to use military force in Iraq? Why does the U.S. never seem to be able to extricate itself from a conflict that began twenty years ago? This lecture will examine the factors – geopolitical, economic and moral - that have drawn successive Presidents into the Iraq’s conflicts over the last twenty years. It argues that American policy in Iraq has been beset by a recurring series of misconceptions – about the nature of the Iraqi state, about the political, sectarian and class-based divisions that animate the society, and ultimately about their ability to produce social change in that country – and by a mismatch between goals and resources, both of which have deepened Iraq’s crisis rather than alleviate it. As a result, the U.S. is now a protagonist in another war against ISIS in Iraq which may lead to the disintegration of the state and the emergence of a new order in the Middle East. Apart from the ongoing academic lectures and programs at the Middle East Center, this six-part lecture series at the Camden County College is part of Center’s community college outreach initiatives. Our past programs with the Camden County College included topics such as arts, history, culture, and religion in the Middle East. It is free and open to public. NJ Professional Development Credits (CEU) are available for educators. Please click on the flyer for the full listings of events and details for how to register for them.  
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Connector Building, Blackwood Campus, Camden County College