Center News

The Middle East Center congratulates Yuval Orr, a member of the class of 2011 majoring in Modern Middle East Studies, for receiving the Gantz Family Undergraduate Award for his project entitled Sounds of National Struggle: Hip-Hop and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

A UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy has been established at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. The first of its kind at a U.S. school of education, the UNESCO Chair will focus on the achieving UN Millennium Development Goals in the area of basic education and literacy in the world's poorest countries.

Established within Penn's International Literacy Institute (ILI), the UNESCO Chair will be held by Dr. Daniel Wagner, a professor of education at Penn GSE and Director of the ILI.

UNESCO chairs are created as part of a bilateral partnership between UNESCO and universities committed to the goals of the United Nations. There are currently over 600 UNESCO chairs in 128 countries. The UNESCO Chair at Penn is the 18th chair in the United States.

To read the full announcement on Penn Almanac, visit here.

Marie Grace Brown (HIST) has been interviewed for the SAS monthly magazine, FRONTIERS. To read the article, please visit here.

Our language faculty members (Dr. Pardis Minuchehr and Dr. Feride Hatiboglu) received the 2011 STARTALK grants for summer programs for teachers of Persian and Turkish.

On February 17, 2011, Professor Eve Troutt Powell (History) discussed the origins of the uprising in Egypt with The Current. To read the full article, visit here.

Educators' Workshop: Globalize Your Summer
Local and International Opportunities to Strengthen Your Curriculum

This workshop will feature information from the University of Pennsylvania’s resource centers on South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia, as well as from the Global Exploration for Educators Organization, the Penn Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Global Education Motivators, BigPictureSmallWorld, the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia, and Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad. Find out about a range of opportunities available to educators for the summer of 2011!

Act 48 credit available. This workshop will be held on February 15th at 4:00 PM. For more information, see the workshop event page.

Penn Museum on the University of Pennsylvania campus is the only East Coast venue for Secrets of the Silk Road. This family-friendly exhibition showcases recent discoveries from the vast Tarim Basin desert in western China, where a series of rich and culturally diverse burials and spectacularly preserved mummies have been uncovered.

Join area teachers at the Penn Museum for an Educators' Evening on Thursday, November 4, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.

  • Receive 2 Act 48 or NJ Professional Development credit hours
  • Learn the story behind the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition as the exhibition's curatorial consultant and Penn professor Victor Mair lectures about his discoveries
  • Learn how area educators have integrated Silk Road-related topics into their curriculum
  • Discover other educational resources on Penn campus when you meet representatives from Penn's Centers: African Studies, Middle East, East Asia Studies, South Asia
  • Test exhibition prototypes of interactives, shop at the Penn Museum's store, and more!

To learn more about Educators' Evening and to RSVP, contact Jennifer Reifsteck at 215-898-4016 or

Our former FLAS recipient and Lauder Institute Class '11, Matthew Axelrod, wrote for Foreign Policy on Egypt (1/31/11, here) and appeared on the BBC (2/1/11, here) and on PBS NewsHour (2/8/11, here) discussing the recent uprising in Egypt.

Persian Teachers' Workshop

The Middle East Center, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the National Middle East Language Resource Center at Brigham Young University are hosting a workshop for post-secondary teachers of Persian from Friday, February 5th to Sunday, February 7th. The workshop will focus on new pedagogical techniques and the development of new curricula for the Persian language.

This event is by invitation only.

Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Ph.D. student Carolyn Brunelle visited the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr on November 19th to talk about "The Use and Misuse of Arabic in the US Media Today".  She addressed the terms madrasa, Allah, Islam, fatwa and jihad; explaining their linguistic roots, what they mean in Arabic, and the slant the US Media has given them.  Carolyn also addressed some of the many words in English that are of Arabic origin, like coffee, cotton and algebra.

If you are a teacher interested in a similar presentation at your school, please email