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
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 mec-info@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
Dr. Patricia Henwood The University of Pennsylvania's Center for East Asian Studies, Africa Center, South Asia Center, Middle East Center, Perelman School of Medicine’s Global Health Programs, School of Nursing, and Perry World House, are pleased to present the Global Distinguished Lecture, featuring Patricia Henwood, MD. Dr. Henwood will speak on "International Responses to Global Epidemics."   Dr. Patricia Henwood, through the lens of working with Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone, will address emergent epidemics, and the global response to diseases in our inter-connected world. Dr. Henwood is the Director of Global Health Initiatives in Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Co-Founder & President of PURE (Point-of-care Ultrasound in Resource-limited Environments). Global Distinguished Lecture with Patricia Henwood, MD "International Response to Global Epidemics" Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 6:00 PM (reception to follow) International House Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street) South America Room   The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow, and all are welcome to attend.
6:00pm
South America Room @ the International House, 3701 Chestnut 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
20
In order to promote and strengthen the study of Middle Eastern Languages at Penn, the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the Translation Contest, for a first place prize of $500 awarded by the Center. The award competition will accept submissions for a different modern Middle Eastern language each year including Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. The Middle East Center Translation Contest for 2015 will consider contemporary Persian texts from twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Translations must be at least one full page of text (double-spaced) of either prose or poetry. The submissions will be judged on the following criteria: accuracy, style and grammar. All entries should be the student’s original work and previously not published elsewhere.  By submitting an entry, contestants agree that the translation is their original work.  Along with their translations, entrants should also truthfully indicate their level of Persian (one year, two years, heritage speaker, native speaker, etc.) This competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students. Please submit entries to mec-info@sas.upenn.edu with the subject “Middle East Center Translation Contest: Persian” no later than April 20th, 2015 by 5 p.m.
5:00pm
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
23
Dr. Deirdre Martinez and Roxana Moussavian Are you interested in pursuing a career in government, international affairs, cultural foundations or public policy?  Join us for an Internship/Career Workshop on April 23rd, 1pm, Arch Building, Room 108. The Penn Middle East Center is hosting a workshop designed to provide advice and strategies to students to help them land the jobs they want.  Students will learn about internship and job searching, networking and careers in Washington D.C. and beyond.  Participating in the workshop will be Dr. Deirdre Martinez (Penn’s Fels Institute of Government and Penn in Washington Program), an expert in education and career placement.  She is the author of Washington Internships: How to Get Them and Use Them to Launch Your Public Policy Career (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).  Additionally, Policy Advisor for the National Economic Council at The White House and recent Penn MMES alumna Roxana Moussavian will address her experiences in Washington. The Modern Middle East Studies (MMES) major is interdisciplinary in nature and it provides an education that can be converted into many different career paths. MMES alumni have gone on to positions in the U.S. State Department, the United States Mission to the United Nations, the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, the White House, and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.  Presenters: Roxana Moussavian (Policy Advisor, National Economic Council, White House) Dr. Deirdre Martinez (Author of, Washington Internships: How to Get Them and Use Them to Launch Your Public Policy Career) We invite all Penn students to this workshop. Students in Modern Middle East Studies, Political Science and International Affairs are especially welcome. (Free to attend.  A complimentary light lunch will be served, and there will be time for informal mingling and networking.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to mec-info@sas.upenn.edu)
1:00pm
Arch Building, Room 108
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
May
4
Middle East Center The Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania cordially invites you to a full-day symposium exploring the history of World War I in the broader Middle East. This is open to the public and will convene in the morning with keynote remarks by Dr. M. Şükrü Hanioğlu (Princeton University).     Symposium Program (9 – 10 am) – Breakfast (10am – 12 pm) – Session I: The Ottoman Empire Dr. Mustafa Aksakal (Georgetown University): “World War I in the Middle East: New Scholarship” Dr. M. Şükrü Hanioğlu (Princeton University): “Ottoman Shiite Jihad during the Great War” Dr. Yücel Yanıkdağ (University of Richmond): “Fear, Anxiety and Manliness in the Ottoman Great War”   (12 – 1:30 pm) – Lunch (1:30 – 3:30 pm) – Session II: Russia and the Caucasus Dr. Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania): “The Policy and Practice of Russian Occupation in Eastern Anatolia and Northern Persia, 1915-1917” Dr. Eileen Kane (Connecticut College): "Imperial Collapse and Migrations in the East" Dr. Michael A. Reynolds (Princeton University): “The East’s Eastern Front: the Ottoman-Russian War and Its Legacies”   (3:30 – 4 pm) – Break (4 – 6 pm) – Session III: Iran and Syria Dr. Oliver Bast (University of Manchester): "Sideshow of a sideshow? - Iran and the First World War in the Middle East” Dr. Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (University of Pennsylvania): “Post World War I Settlements and Arabization Policies” Dr. Eve M. Troutt Powell (University of Pennsylvania): “The Empire’s Soldiers: Senegalese Tirailleurs in Syria during WWI”
9:00am
108/109 Arch Building, 3601 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104