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.

Jan
16
 Penn’s Middle East Center (MEC) is pleased to announce the opening of submissions for the 2017-2018 MEC Translation Contest and award for $500.   The Middle East Center (MEC) Translation Contest for 2017-2018 is now accepting submissions. This year the contest will consider original translations of Arabic texts from the 20th and 21st centuries. Translations must be one full page of text. Submissions exceeding this length will not be judged. Use texts that currently do not have published English translation. Submissions will be judged on accuracy, style and grammar.  Entries must be submitted to mec-info@sas.upenn.edu with the subject, “MEC Translation Contest: Arabic,” by January 16, 2018 at 11:59 PM.  NOTE: 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 Arabic (one year, two years, heritage speaker, native speaker, etc.). This competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania. Past Awards:  2014-2015 Persian Translation: Yasaman Givi, "Light, Myself, Flower, Water," Orginally written by Sohrab Sepehri's Poem "Roshani, Man, Goi, Ab." 2015-2016 Modern Hebrew Translation: Ariel Resnikoff, "Siftah," Orginally written by Avoth Yeshurun. 2016-2017 Modern Turkish Translation: Ida Nitter, "Okumak Uzere"
11:45pm
Jan
27
Penn Museum, Middle East Center Tessa Alarcan Martin, Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau Understand more about how archaeologists use scientific analysis to understand the people of ancient Mesopotamia. Begin with an activity to explore unfamiliar objects, then tour the Artifact Lab with conservator Tessa Alarcan Martin to hear about her preparations for the new Middle East Galleries. Hear from Dr. Marie-Claude Boileau of the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM), in a talk about her scientific analysis of ancient Middle East ceramics. Then finish with a STEM-focused interactive workshop that examines ceramic slipper coffins from the Mesopotamian city of Nippur. Breakfast provided, ACT 48 Credits provided for PA Educators. Located at: Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA  Find out more here: education@pennmuseum.org
8:30am
Penn Museum
Jan
31
Middle East Center The Middle East Center is now accepting entries for the Modern Middle East Studies (MMES) Photography Contest 2018. The goal of this contest is to connect students to the culture and history of the Middle East in a modern context. Students may submit a portfolio of up to five photos, with a short paragraph explaining what they are and why they were submitted. The winning photo(s) will be featured on the Middle East Center's website, as well as used in promotional materials for the MMES major and minor, with credit given to the winning photographer. Deadline is Wednesday, January 31st, at 11:59 PM. Submissions should be sent to mec-info@sas.upenn.edu with the subject of “MMES Photography Contest Submission.” Photographs must be original. This contest is open to Penn graduate and undergraduate students only. The winning entry will receive a $500 prize.
11:45pm
Feb
28
Cole Bunzel, PhD student at Princeton University Cole Bunzel is a Ph.D. student at Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies, where his research focuses on the history of Wahhabism, the puritan Islamic reform-movement in Saudi Arabia. It is the ideological movement to which al-Qaeda and ISIS belong. He will analyze the place of Wahhabism in modern jihadi ideology. Bunzel, who studied and researched in Egypt and Saudi Arabia is the author of From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State.   This lecture is part of a lecture series titled, "Terror in the Twenty First Century- al Qaeda and Their Affiliates. The lecture series is free and open to the public, however registration is required.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Camden Community College Blackwood Campus
Mar
7
Barack Mendelsohn, Associate Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at Haverford College Barack Mendelsohn, Associate Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at Haverford College, will analyze the currect state of the Al-Qaeda threat and demonstrate how its power is overstated. He will argue that the diminution of Al-Qaeda's power requires a more nuanced response on the part of the United States. This lecture is part of a lecture series titled, "Terror in the Twenty First Century- al-Qaeda, ISIS, and their Affilates. The lecture series is free and open to the public, however registration is required.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Camden County College Blackwood Campus
Mar
16
The Middle Center (MEC) at the University of Pennsylvania is now accepting submissions for our 2018 Essay Contest. The competition is open to all current Penn undergraduates. Essays may deal with any topic within the context of the modern Middle East/North Africa. Papers addressing any aspect of the region from the late 18th century to present will be considered for the prize. All entries should be the student’s original work and previously not published elsewhere. There will be a first place prize of $500 awarded to the winner. The Center will also award one honorable mention prize of $200. Please submit entries to mec-info@sas.upenn.edu with the subject, “Undergraduate Essay Contest,” no later than Monday, March 16, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. Essays should range from 3000 to 5000 words, not including notes, charts, appendices and bibliography. Please use MLA citation when submitting papers. Essay Contest Winners:  2012, Ellen Frierson, "Gift of Nile: Egypt's Hydropolitical Dominance of the Nile Vallet in the Modern Era." 2013, Autumn Patterson, "All That Glitters Is Not Gold: The Fate of Regime Change in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria." 2014, Shaj Mathew, "Peripheral Peoples: Istanbul on the Margins of Modernity in Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence." 2015, Nicolò Marzaro, "History Reocurring in Afganistan: How the US Failed to Lean from the Past.” 2016, Anna Hess, "The Shopping Festival:Guilded Fanfare and the Emirati Economy." 2017, Lauren Beard, "Mental Health Conditions of Syrian Refugees in Turkey" Honorable Mention Award: 2015, Alex DeBerardinis, "Drone Warfare and the Attack on Nation-State Sovereignty." 2016, Angela Perfetti, "Morocco (1930):Marlene Dietrich and the Queer Visage of American Orientalist Cinema." 2017, Michael Karam, "The Lebanese M Community: Identities Lost (or) Found in Translation"
11:45pm
Mar
17
8:30AM- 3:00PM Cost- $95 before January 15th, $145 per person after January 15th: Price includes two curriculum units, lunch, certificate of attendance, and all workshop materials. Partial scholarships are available for pre-service teachers and schools sending multiple participants.  The Middle East Center and the South Asia Center are sponsoring 12 seats for the workshop.  Who should attend: History, geography, government, current issues, AP, IB, civics, and other social studies educators are the main audience. Materials are appropriate for grades 7-12. Humanities teachers often use our materials and are encouraged to attend.   Workshop includes: An introduction to the Choice's Program award-winning resources and approach to teaching about contested international issues; An immersion in two Choices units: The Middle East in Transition; Questions for U.S. Policy and Confronting Genocide: Never Again? (both are included); Experiences in two Penn Museum exhibitions; Six Act 48 Credits (please bring your ID #)
8:30am
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA
Mar
19
Screening of the film, The Traveller as part of the Middle East Film Festival. The film is about a travel agent who has never travelled and is sent on a business trip to Paris, only to find himself confronted by temptations he cannot handle.
6:00pm
3340 Walnut St, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 401
Mar
20
This is part of the Middle East Film Festival.
6:00pm
3340 Walnut St, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 401
Mar
21
This is part of the Middle East Film Festival. The film, Clash is set entirely in a police truck, a number of detainees from different political and social backgrounds are brought together by fate, during the turmoil that followed the ousting of former president Morsi from power.
6:00pm
3340 Walnut St, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 401
Mar
22
This is part of the Middle East Film Festival. The film A Man of Integrity, is a drama about the corruption and injustice in the Iranian society.
6:00pm
3340 Walnut St, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 401
Mar
23
This is part of the Middle East Film Festival. The film, Personal Affairs takes place in Nazareth where an old couple lives wearily to the rhythm of the daily routine. On the other side of the borderm in Ramallah, their son Tarek wishes to remain an eternal bachelor.
6:00pm
3340 Walnut St, Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 401
Mar
28
Lorenzo Vidino, the Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University Lorenzo Vidino, the Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, is an expert on Islamism in Europe and North America. He will discuss the curent state of the terrorist threat in Europe, from the mobilization of thousands of European foreign fighters who have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq to the many attacks that have bloodied the streets of the Continent. He will also discuss terrorist attacks in the US and compare them with European events.In addition, this talk will also address the response from European and American authorities and their impact on political debates on both continents.   This lecture is part of a lecture series titled, "Terror in the Twenty First Century- al Qaeda and Their Affiliates. The lecture series is free and open to the public, however registration is required.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Camden County College Blackwood Campus
Mar
29
Marie Grace Brown   How do bodies mark and make meaning of our place in the world? From 1898 to 1956, amidst the upheaval of imperial rule, a generation of young Sudanese women performed a careful choreography of body movements to adapt to imperial morals and affirm a new standard of modern Sudanese womanhood. Marie Grace Brown traces these gestures, intimacies, and adornment to demonstrate how the imperial experience was inscribed on women’s bodies. The result is a highly participatory tale of empire that honors the ways in which Sudanese women told their own stories in the swing of their hips and the tucks and folds of their clothes.
12:00am
ARCH 108, 3601 Locust Walk
Apr
11
Joby Warrick Joby Warrick, the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book, Black Flags, will separate fact from fiction about the world's most notorious terrorist organization. He will discuss the profiles of past and present leaders of ISIS and explain how it built its global army as well as whether the impact of the defeat of ISIS's caliphate in the Middle East will usher in a dangerous new phase against terrorism. Warrick will offer insights, stories, and images based upon his many years of reporting in the Middle East. This lecture is part of a lecture series titled, "Terror in the Twenty First Century- al Qaeda and Their Affiliates. The lecture series is free and open to the public, however registration is required.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Camden County College Blackwood Campus
Apr
25
Daniel Byman, a professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Research Director of the Center for the Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution Daniel Byman, a professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Research Director of the Center for the Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, will drawn upon his work with the (-11 Commission and as an analyst for the US intelligence community, to explain how al Qaeda is distinct from the Islamic State and the broader jihadist movement. This lecture is part of a lecture series titled, "Terror in the Twenty First Century- al Qaeda and Their Affiliates. The lecture series is free and open to the public, however registration is required.
7:00pm
Civic Hall, Camden County College Blackwood Campus