News & Events
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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.

Oct
22
Dr. Angie Heo, Assistant Professor of the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, University of Chicago In the wake of the Arab Uprisings and the military coup, Egypt's Copts encounter promises of national unity and perils of sectarian exclusion. Based on fieldwork, this lecture analyzes how religious practices of mediation shape Christian-Muslim belonging under the post-1952 Egyptian state. 
5:30pm
Arch 108, 3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
24
Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, Emirati commentator on Arab affairs, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, a Director's Fellow at MIT Media Lab, UAE-based columnist and Founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, will give a talk addressing the politics of modern Middle Eastern Art.
5:30pm
Annenberg School of Communication Rm 110,3620 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Oct
29
Amy Hawthorne, Deputy Director for Research at Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) Dr. Nada Matta, Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Modern Languages, Drexel University. Since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power six years ago, he has led the region's most populous country into a new autocratic era. How is al-Sisi's Egypt different from that of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled from 1981 to 2011? What are the major features of politics, economy, and foreign policy? Is Egypt still important to the United States, and what is the U.S. role in its trajectory? These questions will be addressed in this lecture by Amy Hawthorne (in conversation with Nada Matta).
5:30pm
Claudia Cohen Hall Rm 402, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Nov
4
John Limbert, Foreign Service Officer in Tehran (1978-1981) and US Deputy Secretary of State for Iran (2009-2010 Dr. John Ghazvinian, Associate Director, Middle East Center Forty years to the day since he was taken hostage by student radicals at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, John Limbert reflects on the experiences of that day and the direction U.S.-Iran relations have taken since. During a 34-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Limbert has served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran (2009-2010), and as ambassador to Mauritania (2000-2003). From 1979 to 1981, Limbert was among 52 Americans held hostage after the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. John Limbert will be in conversation with Dr. John Ghazvinian, Associate Director, Middle East Center, about the former's experiences as a hostage during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. 
5:30pm
Perry World House, World Forum, 3803 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Nov
6
Faleeha Hassan Rawad Wehbe Born in Iraq, Faleeha Hassan is a poet, teacher, editor, writer, and playwright. For her many awards in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, she has been described by Oprah.com and others as the 'Maya Angelou of Iraq.' A 2019 Pulitzer Prize nominee, Hassan has published tewnty books and has had her poetry translated into over ten languages. Faleeha Hassan will be in conversation with Rawad Wehbe, a PhD candidate in the Department for Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania.  
6:00pm
Penn Book Center, 130 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Nov
7
Emily Hammer, Assistant Professor at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania will give a talk discussing the water situation in the Middle East from both a contemporary and historic perspective.  The Middle East is an arid region facing major water problems, but it is also a region that thousands of years ago hosted the world's earliest cities and states. How did the Middle East go from being the "cradle of civilization" to a region on the edge of water crises? This talk discusses archaeological and athropological evidence for how water avilability has changed over the millennia in the Middle East through the interaction of natural systems and human management. 
6:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200
Nov
12
Dr. Ümit Kurt, Polonsky Fellow, Polonsky Academy, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Jerusalem Institute Much of the literature on the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians tells the story of a state captured by a radical party that enforced genocidal measures throughout the land. Scholarship about genocidal activity at the local level, however is still in its infancy. The aim of this talk is to examine such activity on the Ottoman periphery, focusing on the district of Aintab (or Anteb) – modern-day Gaziantep. Drawing upon primary sources from Ottoman, Armenian, British and French archives, as well as from memoirs and personal papers, the first part of the talk examines the efforts of some of Aintab’s most prominent citizens to get the central government to expel the district’s Armenians. The second part of the argument focuses on events after the genocide.
5:30pm
TBD
Nov
20
Dr. Anna Viden, Program Coordinator, Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania Since the late 1940s the United States maintains a complicated relationship with Saudi Arabia and our countries' economic and strategic interests are intertwined. Due to this Saudi Arabia often is in the news and on social media. Consequently, Americans collectively have formed certain perceptions about the country and its political and economic policies and cultural facets. However, mainstream media and to some extent, social media, often only present the voices of the political elite. Rarely do we get to hear the views of ordinary Saudi citizens. Dr. Viden will fill these gaps in her lecture and help us look at Saudi Arabia from a different angle.       
1:45pm
Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia,PA 19130
Dec
5
Kaley Keener, Lecturer in Arabic, University of Pennsylvania The Arabo-Islamic empire is known for its many contributions to diverse fields such as philosophy, medicine, literature, and the sciences, yet the role that women played in these fields, as well as their agency in the greater medieval context, remains largely underrepresented and under-researched. By drawing on three roles occupied by Arabo-Islamic women: The Warrior, the Princess, and the Mystic, Kaley Keener will highlight the ways in which women participated in society throughout the medieval period, bearing broader implications for the role of the modern Arabo-Islamic woman.
6:30pm
Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood NJ,08012-0200