Center News

University of Pennsylvania alumnus Max Reibman has written an article on Egypt's economy and diminishing foreign reserves. It was published recently for Carnegie's Sada Journal and be found at this link:

Max Reibman holds a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 2009, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an M.Phil in Historical Studies in 2010 from Cambridge, where he is now completing his PhD as a Gates Scholar. His main research interests are Egypt and the Middle East in the era of the First World War. He spent this past year in Egypt where he worked predominantly in the Egyptian National Archives and where he was an affiliated fellow at the American University in Cairo.


The Arts & Islamic Culture Program - Begins March 11, 2013

The upcoming "Arts and Islamic Culture" program this Spring, which is hosted at Camden County College's Blackwood Campus. Monday evenings: March 11, and April 15, 22, 29, and May 6, 2013 at 7 p.m. A pamphlet with information on the program and how to register is provided. PA teachers seeking ACT 48 credits will be able to do so through the Penn Museum (more information is included in the pamphlet). NJ Professional Development credit is also offered.

This program is provided in cooperation with Camden County College, American Research Institute in Turkey, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the Middle East Center.

A program link is available here:


We hope you will register for this great program.

Dr. Kashani-Sabet presents at the Bates Center Seminar Series
The Middle East Center director, Dr. Kashani-Sabet's talk gave a talk entitled "Breeding Women: Reproduction and Maternalist Politics in Iran". You will find more information on the Bates Centers website:
Qatar Foundation International (QFI) Teacher Fellowship Awards

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for our Teacher Fellowship Awards.
As part of its overall mission to expand and improve the teaching of K-12 Arabic in the United States, QFI is pleased to offer fellowships for current or prospective K-12 teachers. The program is intended to support:

1)    Teacher candidates who are pursuing certification in Foreign Language Education in World or  Foreign Languages to teach Arabic;
2)    Teachers who already are certified in another discipline and are seeking an endorsement to teach     Arabic
3)    Teachers seeking U.S. certification to teach Arabic through any other recognized means.  

The goal of QFI’s Teacher Fellows program is to develop a strong cohort of highly trained teachers who will be future leaders in the field of K-12 Arabic education. QFI strongly believes that the skill, talent, and commitment of the teacher are key components for the success of any language program and supporting teachers is at the heart of this effort. 

This program will offset participating teachers' tuition and fees for advanced courses in Arabic language and culture needed for certification. In addition some fellows may receive funding for summer study in the Middle East for intensive language study. It will also offset housing fees for summer programs that require staying outside the students normal residence.

The program will also provide teachers with the opportunity to learn best practices in language education, develop a thorough understanding of Arabic and how to teach it, and augment their passion for the study of Arabic language and cultures and their commitment to educating young people about the peoples and cultures of this important area of the world.  

The deadline for submission is March 15, 2013. The official announcement is on QFi's website:

2013 NEH Summer Institute in Turkey

This summer, Primary Source will be running a new NEH Summer Institute for Teachers: Ottoman Cultures: Society, Politics and Trade in the Turkish Empire, 1299-1922. The application deadline is fast approaching (March 4th), and we’re eager to reach a wide and diverse pool of educators who would appreciate and benefit from the institute. We welcome applications from K-12 librarians and teachers of world religions, geography, English language arts, music, and art, as well as social studies teachers.

We would very much appreciate your help in identifying and reaching out to promising applicants to take advantage of this unique opportunity to study in Turkey. We are hoping to receive more applications from beyond the Boston area. I’ve included text (below) and a flyer (attached) that can be used to share information about the institute. Educators who wish to apply should spend some time exploring the institute website for application information and instructions, course details and expectations, a detailed schedule of the institute, and more:

If interested educators have any questions about the application process or the program, we invite them to contact Sameera Anwar, Primary Source Program Coordinator at or (617) 923-9933 ext. 22.

The Middle East Center & Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture host Educator's Workshop

On Saturday, February 2, 2013 The Middle East Center & Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture host Educator's Workshop entitled "Umm Kulthum: Her Life and Legacy".
This workshop guided teachers through a new online curriculum unit about the life and legacy of preeminent Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. Created by a team of educators, artists, and digital designers with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, the curriculum is designed to align with and incorporate American Common Core Standards, and can be used by literacy, social studies, music, and arabic language educators. Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the historical context of Egypt during her lifetime, explore in some depth two of the ten lesson plans, and experience learning to sing an Egyptian song using the online music education tool. Many thanks to Alon Tam, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, Hazami Sayed, Eric Lundblade, and Hanna Khoury from Al-Bustan Seeds of Culutre for their work. 

More info about Al-Bustan Digital Education:

Middle East Center hosts Arab Journalists as they cover U.S. elections

Robert I. Williams Professor of History and Director of the Middle East Center, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet spoke with ten journalists from the Arab world in October as part of the U.S. State Department’s Arabic-language Election 2012 tour. The meeting was well received and covered internationally in places such as Tunisia & Egypt. The journalists also visited the headquarters at the University of Pennsylvania, during the tour.

You find full details here

Attn!: Due to Hurricane Sandy this event has been rescheduled to Wedndesday, November 14, 2012. Venue details will be released soon

Teacher Workshop: Muslims and Islam in the United States

The focus of this workshop will be on Islam and Muslims in America. With immigration from the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and growth of the Muslim African-American community in the greater Philadelphia region; the number of students in diverse religious community in growing. This workshop will give educators knowledge and tools for teaching about this community in their classrooms. Space is very limited and the first 15 registrants will be accepted (with others place on a waiting list). This workshop will be best suited for educators in Middle & High Schools. Teaching materials will be provided to those that attend. *This workshop is free of cost!*

For more information/ to register follow this link

Affliated Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department Dr. Jamal Elias Presents: Aisha’s Cushion: Religious Art, Perception and Practice in Islam. Thursday, November 6, 2012 at 6pm. Penn Bookstore

Two Exciting New Courses for Fall 2012: Undergraduate & Graduate

We would like to alert you to a new courses available this fall that will be taught by Professor Kashani-Sabet:

HISTORY 188: T/Th, 12-1:20 pm, Undergraduate Course

Revolutionary Ideas, Ideologies of Revolution
in the Middle East

Ideas play an intangible role in defining culture and politics. In the contemporary Middle East, mass movements and revolutions have become a familiar feature of social and political life. This course surveys some of the major revolutions and ideologies that have caused significant change in the Middle East over the last century. We will examine icons of imperialism and consider varying sources of conflict within and between states. Novels, essays, and secondary works will comprise the bulk of the readings. The weekly assignments will focus on particular themes or on works that show the nature of political change in various contexts and geographic settings. Thematic texts will be supplemented with factual information to help the students put the ideas of revolt and protest in the proper historical context.


HISTORY 640: Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 pm, Graduate Course

From Coffeehouses to Internet Cafes: Consumer Culture in the Middle East

Why does consumer culture matter? Situated at the crossroads of economic, social, and cultural history, the history of consumption considers both the production of goods and patterns of expenditure deriving in part from consumer needs and tastes. Traditional economic historians did not always grapple with the ways in which people’s preferences for goods and services affected commerce and trade. Critics of these ideas have pointed out that, even when large economic processes such as mercantilism and imperialism imposed top-down economic policies, people showed agency in their consumer choices. The readings in this course will help us to identify consumer trends in Middle Eastern societies and to explain their significance in discourses of modernity.