Center News

2013 Janet Lee Stevens Award Winners

Congratulations to Katie Hickerson and Carolyn Brunelle, the winners of the 2013 Janet Lee Stevens Award. This award is given annually to graduate students in Arabic and Islamic Studies who, in addition to showing exceptional merit in their academic performance, fulfill the spirit of the award by working to improve relations with and understanding of the Arab world. Carolyn is a graduate student in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and Katie is completing her graduate studies in the History department.

MMES student receives CURF award

We are pleased to announce that Jacob Blumenfeld-Gantz, a minor in Modern Middle East Studies (MMES) has received the Thouron Award for the 2012-2013 program year. The award is administered by the the Center of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) at the University of Pennsylvania. CURF is dedicated to providing opportunites for undergraduate students to pursue independent research.

2013 MEC Undergraduate Essay Award Winner

Autumn Patterson, a senior Political Science major at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named the winner of the Middle East Center’s 2013 Undergraduate Essay Contest. Her composition, entitled All that Glitters is Not Gold: The Fate of Regime Change in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, examined the persistence of authoritarianism in these nations since the 2011 Arab Spring. Autumn is presently a research assistant for a book that explores the relationship between India and the United States. She possesses proficiency in Spanish, Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Pashto languages and was recently awarded a Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Upon completion of a graduate degree in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Autumn will join the Foreign Service of the United States.

Dr. Troutt-Powell named as the new Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Arts & Sciences

Please join us in congratulating Prof. Eve Troutt-Powell, who has been named as the new Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Arts & Sciences effective July 2013. We wish Prof. Troutt-Powell great success in her new position.

Dr. Troutt-Powell in an affiliated faculty member of the Middle East Center and current Graduate Chair in the History Deparmtent. She is a distinguished historian of the modern Middle East, with a special interest in the region's relationship with Africa. Her latest book is Tell This in my Memory: Stories of Enslavement in Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Empire (Stanford, 2012). She has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and in 2003 was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. Here at Penn she is a member of the Executive Committees of the Middle East Center and the Center for Africana Studies and is also currently a Penn Fellow.

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: