Center News

Annual Global Education Workshop

On May 9, 2009, The Middle East Center, African Studies Center, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the South Asia Center hosted an intensive full-day workshop for teachers and administrators at the University of Pennsylvania. The workshop focused on the significance of global education and global perspectives and provided lesson plans and supplementary materials. Programs were delivered by educators Medard Gabel and Wayne Jacoby. Outreach coordinators from the four centers also made presentations about teaching materials and resources available to teachers.

The Center's Jim Ryan will be lecturing on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 to students at the fifth annual Cherry Hill East Model United Nations Conference. He will be discussing the growth of area studies in the United States.

The Center is currently sending qualified Ph.D students to Philadelphia area high schools to help educate students about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

February 24, 2009
West Catholic High School
"Overview of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

March 17, 2009
Bodine High School for International Affairs
3:00-4:30 PM
"Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

May 12, 2009
Philadelphia High School for Girls
"Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

Podcasts - NEW!
The MEC will upload popular lectures to iTunes as podcasts. The inaugural episode features Professor Sylvia Vatuk's lecture on "Islamic Feminism in India: Muslim Women Activists and the Reform of Muslim Family Law" as part of our Women and Islamic Law series. Find the lectures through iTunesU, or by following this link.

The Middle East Center is proud to announce a new Certificate of Study in Middle East and Islamic Studies for students in Law School at the University of Pennsylvania. To qualify for certificate, a Penn Law student must successfully complete four courses in the general area of Middle East and Islamic Studies. For more information on requirements, click here.

NELC Persian Lecturer Pardis Minuchehr was recently elected President of the American Association of Teachers of Persian (AATP), a national organization devoted to the teaching of Persian language and culture in North America. She is also the recipient of a STARTALK summer grant from the National Foreign Language Center for Professional Curriculum and Material Development Workshop for Teachers of Persian.

MEC Administrative Assistant James Ryan makes semi-regular visits to area schools to guest lecture on topics related to the Middle East. On December 18, visited Central Bucks High School West to discuss the Islamic Republic of Iran to a 12th grade AP Comparative Government Class. On Friday November 7, he visited Central Buck High School South to guest lecture in the 12th Grade International Relations classes. Mr. Ryan addressed the political and social problems of Iran and Iraq, both from the American and Middle Eastern Perspective. He also addressed the Sunni-Shi'i divide, helping the students better to undersand exactly what role religion plays in the ethnic and social cleavages in the region. International Relations is part of the standard Social Studies Curriculum for 12th graders in Central Bucks Schools and has significantly increased focus on the Middle East in recent years. The Middle East Center looks forward to greater participation in the curriculum, with the students and with the faculty in this and other area school districts.

Dance Workshop for 7th Graders

One of the Center's fellows and dance instructor Habiba held two workshops at the Independence Charter School on December 17th and 18th, 2008. The two workshops were part of the seventh grade level Arabic language and culture training and they focused on the traditional dance of Egypt. The goal of the workshop was to teach students how to dance in the context of an Egyptian village festival. Some of the topics discussed in the festival setting included language, clothing, agriculture, climate, customs, henna, music, and dance.

Drumming Workshops for Beginning and Intermediate Students, 3rd-12th grades (Other workshops for adults possible)

Ten Saturday workshops from September through December were held at the Rotunda (4012 Walnut St., Philadelphia) by Lebanese-American Master Percussionist Joseph Tayoun. The workshops ran from 12:45-1:45 PM for beginners, and from 1:50-2:50 PM for intermediate, and focused on Middle Eastern rhythms and techniques. Future programs of this sort are likely. For more information, call Al-Bustan at (267) 809-3668. You can also send them email. Some scholarships are available. If you are interested in adult percussion workshops, let them know, as they are considering opening an adult section on Saturdays from 3-4 PM.


Arabic and Drama Workshops for 3rd-5th Graders

Ten Saturday workshops from September through December were held at the Rotunda (4012 Walnut St., Philadelphia) by Nehad Khader and Nahid Elgadi. The workshops ran from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM, and focused on study of conversational and written Arabic, integrated with acting and writing an Arab fairy tale, ending with a performance-in-progress. For more information, call Al-Bustan at (267) 809-3668. You can also send them email. Some scholarships are available.

The Middle East Center congratulates NELC Professor Joseph E. Lowry on his promotion to Associate Professor. Professor Lowry is the author of Early Islamic Legal Theory: The Risala of Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i, which was published in 2007 by Brill. His book presents a comprehensive reinterpretation of the Risala, the earliest preserved work of Islamic legal theory.