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Duke's global centers & initiatives

Duke University Middle East Studies Center

Mission Statement

The Duke University Middle East Studies Center is a hub for research, education, and outreach that serves as a forum at the local, national and international levels. We prepare tomorrow’s leaders by equipping them with knowledge about Middle Eastern languages, cultures, and societies. Our center is distinguished by its trans-regional approach to the Middle East. We approach the Middle East as a unit extending from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Our approach emphasizes interdisciplinarity, comparativity, and connectivity.

Summary of 2019-2020 Programs

In September 2019, Duke Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC) organized events related to security and economic relations in the Middle East. We co-sponsored an event with Farah Pandith, expert on countering violent extremism who served under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama; and a talk by Samantha Ravich, Chair of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, about Cybersecurity and Israel’s Strategic Partnership with the U.S. These talks provide deep insights for students looking to work in government/public sectors by engaging with experts in the field. Additionally, the Center ran a semester-long film series by partnering with Arts of the Moving Image Department and the Screen/Society at Duke. With recent closures due to COVID-19, we have structured a streaming service in lieu of in-person screenings. DUMESC also led multiple events that focused on Global Andalusia with a talk by Prof. Hisham Aidi (School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University). Another presentation was given by Michele Lamprakos (Univ. of Maryland) about the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. This series was also tailored for the Middle East & Islam in Global Contexts Focus Cluster which introduces 1st year undergraduate students to diverse perspectives of the region through extracurricular events that supplement their class work.

In Spring 2020, DUMESC organized a panel of Turkish scholars that discussed the climate of academic freedom in Istanbul and current challenges that face institutions across the globe. Additionally, we assisted our undergraduate student group DAME –Duke Association for Middle East –to plan and invite Tunisian experts to analyze the current election cycle on campus, but due to COVID-19 this was postponed and planned for future visitation. However, we did maintain a Zoom class visit in April 2020 by an investigative Tunisian journalist who discussed the history of free speech. DUMESC co-sponsored multiple events as well, ranging from energy transitions and history of coal in the Middle East to labor and gender issues in modern Egypt.

The Center, through its membership in the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, organized several programs for K-12 teachers to support educators in better understanding and teaching about the Middle East. In October, DUMESC organized a workshop for teachers at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill to broaden understanding of complex issues surrounding women, feminism, art, and activism in the Middle East. In November, we hosted a workshop on “Global North Carolina Bringing International Competencies to Teachers & Classrooms” in collaboration with the NC Department of Public Instruction and other global centers. In March 2020, the Center partnered with the National Humanities Center in the Research Triangle Park for a daylong workshop on Al-Andalus. In addition to workshops, DUMESC accepted a cohort of 15 educators to participate in the Middle East and African Cultures Teacher Fellows program. Organized in collaboration with the UNC African Studies center, the MEAC program is a competitive eight-month fellowship for teachers to explore Middle Eastern and African history, cultures, and diaspora. In the spring and summer, fellows participated in a series of webinars to introduce teaching and learning about these two important world regions. During closures caused by the pandemic, DUMESC also organized three webinars for teachers in the spring focusing on the Modern Middle East, Ramadan, and the Syrian Civil War.

2019-2020 Notable Programs

Awards

Certificates & Degrees

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