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MENA Month

APRIL 2017

From ancient discoveries to modern-day practices, explore the cultures and contributions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) throughout the month of April.


Save room for UDairy’s limited edition Baklava ice cream. We're serving up this cool take on the traditional sweet treat at events throughout the month!


UD Middle East Month is sponsored by the University of Delaware Institute for Global Studies in collaboration with Campus Recreation, Center for Global & Area Studies, Development & Alumni Relations, the English Language Institute, Hillel, International Caucus, Islamic Studies, Morris Library, Office for International Students & Scholars, Residence Life & Housing, UD Sustainability Taskforce, and Departments of Art Conservation, History, Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Political Science & International Relations. 

Follow @UDGlobal for all things global at UD, and share in the conversation with #UDMENA.



Nineteenth Century Western Travels in the Middle East: An Exhibition

April 4 - April 31, 2016
Morris Library

The exhibition will be on view in two sites within the Morris Library.  In a single case located in the first floor Information Area, a selection of nineteenth-century travel narratives written by American and European authors will be on display during the Library's regular hours.

A selection of lithographic prints depicting Middle Eastern scenes by the English painter David Roberts (1796 - 1864) will be on view in the Special Collections reading room on the second floor of the Morris Library during Special Collections regular hours of operation through April 28, 2016.


Meet the Experts


Saleem Ali

Saleem H. Ali, is UD's Blue & Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment. His research primarily focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace. His research has spanned locations across the globe including Australia, the Arctic, the United States, Pakistan, Fiji, and the Middle East, to name a few. Learn more about Saleem H. Ali by visiting the College of Earth, Ocean & Environment website.

Vicki Cassman

Vicki Cassman is the director of undergraduate studies and associate professor of Art Conservation at the University of Delaware. Her current research interests include teaching strategies for conservation, undergraduate research, collection management, Andean Archaeology and textiles. Cassman is also a partner in the Iraqi Cultural Heritage Initiative, where she helped establish a Conservation and Preservation Institute in northern Iraq, has trained Iraqi museum professionals, and helped renovate the Iraqi National Museum. To learn more about Vicki Cassman, visit the UD Art Conservation website.

During Middle East Month, Cassman will present a showing of the film Destruction of Memory, which highlights the importance of cultural heritage. The film features the Iraqi Institute. Cassman will introduce the film and facilitate a post-film discussion alongside a representative from the University of Pennsylvania's Heritage Center and Ph.D. Student in Preservation Studies, Reyhane Mirabootalebi. The event will take place on Friday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the UD Library Class of 1941 Lecture Room. Pizza, popcorn and lemonade will be provided for all who attend.

Alan Fox

Alan Fox, Professor and Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware, received his Ph.D. in religious studies from Temple University in 1988. He is an expert in Asian & Comparative Philosophy, Comparative Religion, Religion and Psychology. For more details on Alan Fox, visit his website.

Daniel Green

Daniel M. Green trained as an Africanist during his Ph.D. studies at Indiana University and received a Fulbright Scholar award to Ghana in 1989. He now specializes in international relations theory and history, and served as academic director of the UD Middle East Partnership Initiative Student Leaders Institute (MEPI) from 2005 to 2007. In addition, Green regularly teaches courses in Global Politics, Transnational Relations and America in the Middle East. Publications of note include a 2012 book chapter entitled “Transition to the Endgame: The Challenge of US Policy toward Afghanistan." The chapter appeared in Bahram Rajaee and Mark J. Miller's National Security Under the Obama Administration. For more information on Daniel Green, visit the Political Science & International Relations website.

During Middle East Month, Green will present the first installment of this year's Fulbright Lecture Series, with a talk entitled "Reconsidering American Interests in the Middle East, 2017." The event will take place on Thursday, April 6 at 5 p.m. in the Harker ISE Lab Atrium. Registration is encouraged.

Christine Heyrman

Christine Heyrman, the Robert W. and Shirley P. Grimble Professor of History at the University of Delaware, is one of UD's resident experts in early American social and cultural history. She is the author of a 2015 book, American Apostles: When Evangelicals Entered the World of Islam, that tells the 200-year-old tale of the first American missionaries to the Middle East. The book explores how reports of the team's work played a role in shaping Americans' views of the region and sheds light on a very different journey through private journals and letters. Learn more about Christine Heyrman on the Department of History website.

Muqtedar Khan

Muqtedar Khan, Associate Professor of Political Science & International Relations and Islamic Studies, was the founding director of the Islamic Studies Program at the University of Delaware. He is an expert in the politics of the Middle East and South Asia, Political Islam, Islamic Political Thought and American Foreign Policy in the Muslim World. Professor Khan teaches courses on Arab and Middle Eastern Politics, Politics of Development, Globalization, and Islam in World Affairs. He is the author of eight books, including a forthcoming project entitled Islam and Good Governance: Political Philosophy of Ishan. For more details, visit the UD Political Science & International Relations website.

Ikram Masmoudi

Ikram Masmoudi is Assistant Professor of Arabic whose area of interest includes Arabic language, modern Arabic literature, Iraqi fiction, and literary translation. In the fall of 2008 she joined the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Delaware where she chairs the Arabic Program and co-directs the UD Winter Study Abroad Program in Morocco.

Professor Masmoudi has translated a novel Beyond Love by Iraqi author Hadiya Hussein, published in 2012 by Syracuse University Press. She is currently working on another translation project of the Green Zone a novel by Shakir Noori.

Professor Masmoudi is presently finishing a monograph on War and Occupation in Iraqi Fiction, forthcoming – Edinburgh University Press.  The book examines how recent Iraqi fiction about war depicts the Iraqi subject in its relation to war, coercion and occupation. It focuses particularly on tangible experiences of war and occupation marked by the struggle and marginality involved in war desertion, detention, suicide bombing and sectarian killings. To learn more about Ikram Masmoudi, visit the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures' website.

Khalil Masmoudi

Khalil Masmoudi is an Instructor of Arabic whose area of interest includes Arabic language, modern Arabic literature and North Africa. He was educated in Tunisia where he got his Master’s from the Université de Sfax, Tunisia in Arabic Language and Literature. Before arriving to the University of Delaware in 2006, he taught Arabic language and culture at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. In 2012, Masmoudi was appointed academic director of the Critical Language Scholarship in Tunisia. He currently co-directs a UD Study Abroad program to Morocco each Winter session. For more details on Khalil Masmoudi, visit the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures website.

Rudi Mathee

Rudi Matthee serves as the John and Dorothy Munroe Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Delaware, where he teaches Middle Eastern history, with a research focus on early modern Iran and the Persian Gulf. Mathee has published several books throughout his career, the most recent of which is The Monetary History of Iran. From the Safavids to the Qajars  (I.B. Tauris, 2013), co-authored by Willem Floor and Patrick Clawson. He received the 2006 Albert Hourani Book Prize, awarded by the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the Saidi Sirjani Award, 2004-2005, awarded by the International Society for Iranian Studies, the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Book Prize, 2012, and, twice, the prize for best foreign-language book on Iran from the Iranian Ministry of Culture. To learn more about Rudi Mathee, visit the Department of History website.

Debra Hess-Norris

Debra Hess Norris is Henry Francis DuPont Chair in Fine Arts and Professor of Photograph Conservation at the University of Delaware. Since 1985, Norris has authored more than 30 articles and book chapters on care and treatment of photographic materials, emergency response, ethics, and conservation education; and taught more than 100 workshops and seminars for conservators and allied professionals. Norris has lectured and consulted on the preservation of photographic collections worldwide, including in Russia, India, Lebanon, Columbia, Denmark, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Israel, Peru, Australia, and New Zealand.

As part of a 2009 collaboration between the University of Delaware, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Arab Image Foundation, Hess-Norris co-directed a Photographic Preservation Institute for fifteen participants from major collections in Lebanon, Egypt, Iran and Jordan. The project was funded by a grant from the Getty Foundation. To learn more about Debra Hess-Norris, visit the UD Art Connservation website.

Steven Sidebotham

Steven Sidebotham is professor of ancient history and archaeology at the University of Delaware, where he teaches courses on the ancient Near East and Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Greek and Roman sports and recreation, ancient religions and a seminar on World War II through oral history. In Winter 2014-15, Sidebotham traveled to Egypt for his latest of many seasons at Berenike, a shipping port founded during the Ptolemaic period in the third century B.C. Although less than two percent of the site has been excavated, Sidebotham and other members of his team uncovered dozens of inscriptions in this latest field season. It was this discovery that earned his team a place among the Luxor Times Magazine’s “Top 10 Discoveries of 2015” and which will forever change people’s understanding of the history of the site. To learn more about Steven SIdebotham's work, visit the Department of History's website.

On Monday, April 24, Sidebotham will present a talk entitled "Travelling the High Seas and Bleak Deserts in Antiquity” at 6:00 p.m. in Kirkbride 205. “During the first centuries of the Common Era, he says, “months-long travel between India and Egypt was a fairly regular occurrence. The lecture will recount the dangers of those journeys and the reasons why so many were willing to take enormous personal and financial risks to undertake them.” Sidebotham will focus on ports involved in such odysseys, particularly Berenike in Egypt. No registration is required.

Edgar Small

Edgar Small is a faculty member in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware, where his research interests lie in Construction Engineering & Management. Previously, he taught in the same capacity at the American University in Dubai.

Neil Sturchio

Neil Sturchio, Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences, and doctoral student Mahmoud Sherif have undergone research which examines geochemical controls on radium isotopes in groundwater of the Nubian Aquifer. The Nubian Aquifer is considered the largest of its kind in the world, covering more than 2 million kilometers of land and running beneath four countries in Northeastern Africa. Read more about Neil Sturcho on the College of Earth, Ocean, & Environment's website.

Allan Zarembski

Allan M. Zarembski, Professor of Practice in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, is a resident expert in railway operations with specific interests in safety and derailment prevention, improved track inspection technology and track maintenance planning. In addition to his work and teaching in the United States, Zarembski teaches summer courses at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Learn more by visiting the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering website.


Resources for Further Exploration


Morris Library Film & Video Collection

Film Finders-- Exploring Special Topics: Middle East Month
Discover this University of Delaware Library resource here.

Websites to Discover

Institute for International Education (IIE) 2016 Open Doors Report

Supported from a grant by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, Open Doors is an annual comprehensive resource on International Education in and of the United States. View the full report online or browse the Middle East Fact Sheet for more on international exchange in the region.

Iraqi Cultural Heritage Initiative

A program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational & Cultiral Affairs, the Iraqi Cultural Heritage Initiative aims to help preserve and protect the country's thousands of years of heritage. The University of Delaware's Department of Art Conservation is an institutional partner of the initiative, having helped establish and maintain the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH). Other institutional partners in IICAH include the U.S. Department of State's Cultural Heritage Center, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq's State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the Erbil Governorate, UD's Institute for Global Studies, Winterthur Museum, Walters Art Museum, University of Arizona, University of Pennsylvania and the Getty Conservation Institute.

The U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative

A program of the U.S. Department of State, MEPI aims to expand prosperity and stability across the Middle East and North Africa region. Now celebrating its fourteenth anniversary, MEPI focuses its efforts on three key goals: Participatory Governance, Economic Reform, and Educational Advancement. UD has hosted the Middle East Partnership Initiative's Student Leaders Institute since its inception in 2003.

United States Department of State Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations with foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations in the MENA region. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform. Visit the website here.


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