At MEI, we are committed to offering K-14 teachers useful resources to help inform their teaching on the Middle East and to provide resources to assist them in integrating Middle East components in existing curricula.
General Resources for Teachers
A team of scholars based at six US research universities created this extensive and fully developed curriculum on teaching the Middle East from a multidisciplinary perspective that is aligned with the Common Core objectives. Through the analysis of the most widely used World History textbooks in the United States, the innovative curriculum addresses the common conflation of the history of the Middle East and Islam. It also addresses the general reductive approach to teaching about the region with regards to its peoples, histories, and women. This is an amazing resource we highly recommend teachers to utilize. It is fully developed curriculum for 9-12. Access the Full curriculum.
TeachMideast is an educational outreach initiative developed by the Middle East Policy Council. TeachMideast is a resource designed primarily to give high school and community college teachers the foundation they need to teach about critical, complex and intriguing subjects.
The goal of Teaching the Middle East: A Resource for Educators is to provide teachers of Middle Eastern history and culture with a rich, reliable, and easily accessible resource that draws upon sound humanities scholarship to help build student understanding of Middle Eastern history and culture. Scholars from the University of Chicago developed this teacher resource to provide an overview of Middle Eastern cultures and their contributions to the world.
We have partnered with the Global Language Project (GLP), which has introduced Arabic language classes taught by certified teachers as a regular part of the curriculum in NYC elementary schools. Global Language Project has developed a thematic, standards-aligned kindergarten to 5th grade curricula in Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish. The curriculum is aligned to content and ACTFL standards, as well as the modes of communication. Our curriculum takes an immersion, play-based approach to engage young learners.
Maps can be a powerful tool for understanding the world, particularly the Middle East, a place in many ways shaped by changing political borders and demographics. Here are 40 maps crucial for understanding the Middle East — its history, its present, and some of the most important stories in the region today.
Media sources have constructed problematic images about the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Through this symposium, we hope to begin conversations about representations within curriculum and teaching, and cultivate culturally relevant pedagogy when teaching students from these regions.
Arab American Stories is a 13-part series presented by Detroit Public Television that explores the diversity of the Arab-American experience. Each half-hour features three short, character-driven documentaries that profile Arab Americans making an impact in their community, their profession, their family, or the world at large.
The accompanying viewing guides and lesson plans have been created to assist educators in positioning the episodes as part of lessons across multiple disciplines. Students are also challenged throughout the lessons to think about community, culture, identity, and the American experience as seen through the 39 Arab American stories.
As the nation’s largest non-partisan, non-sectarian, grassroots Arab American civil rights organization, ADC recognizes the importance of education. Education is at the heart of ADC’s mission to protect the civil rights of Arab Americans, promote mutual understanding, and preserve the Arab heritage in America. In order to fulfill our mission, people all over the country need access to materials on Arab culture, history, religion, etc. that present an unbiased and correct representation of Arabs, Arab Americans, and their rich cultural heritage. ADC has prepared and compiled a list of resources and lesson plans on a variety of related subjects. There are specific resources available for students, teachers, parents, as well as general information.
The Palestinian Revolution is a bilingual Arabic/English online learning resource that explores Palestinian revolutionary practice and thought from the Nakba of 1948, to the siege of Beirut in 1982. These thirty four years of Palestinian political and social history were characterised by a distinctive revolutionary culture, that was expressed in specific political practices and forms of thought. The era also witnessed the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, Arabs, and international volunteers outside and inside historic Palestine.
Visualizing Palestine creates data-driven tools to advance a factual, rights-based narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Our researchers, designers, technologists, and communications specialists work in partnership with civil society actors to amplify their impact and promote justice and equality.
This curriculum provides a set of readings, guided questions, and references for students interested in digging deeper into the political and human rights implications of i) the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, also referred to by Palestinians as the “catastrophe” or “nakba;” ii) Zionism (in its political, national, and racial conceptions); and iii) the competing claims to both dispossession and belonging that are at stake in Israel/Palestine.
The Palestine Education Project (PEP) is an initiative of educators and activists based in New York City, created to engage students in critical thinking about the culture, history and current living conditions of Palestinians and Israelis. They use Palestinian hip hop videos, lyrics, digital stories, role play exercises, documentary footage, and more to facilitate conversations around racism, occupation, and resistance. They explore ways to raise awareness about the Palestinian struggle while developing with youth in the U.S. ways to articulate and address their own connections to the issues of colonialism, racism, and militarism.
The Practice of Islam in America: An Introduction (NYU Press) is a book that you can use in classes such as Intro to Islam, Intro to Religion, or Religion in the United States -- as well as something you can share with your neighbor when she asks you how Muslim Americans actually practice their religion. This book describes the lived religious experiences of a Muslim American community diverse by race, religious interpretation, ethnicity, national origin, sexual identity, gender, class, and region. It includes Sunni, Twelver, Isma'ili, Ansaaru Allah, Sufi, and "just Muslim" voices and experiences. Many of the practices here are shared; a few are particular to one community -- but overall, the goal is to show embodied, emplaced Muslim Americans doing and reflecting on Islam.
The book's website contains chapter summaries, audio-visual aids, discussion questions, and group exercises.
Islamic Networks Group (ING) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to counter prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relations between American Muslims and other groups. Founded in 1993, ING achieves its mission through education and community engagement. We work through regional volunteers and affiliated organizations across the country who provide thousands of presentations, training seminars and workshops, and panel discussions annually in schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement agencies, corporations, healthcare facilities, and community organizations as part of cultural diversity curricula and programs. Reaching hundreds of groups and tens of thousands of individuals a year at the grassroots level, ING is building bridges among people of all backgrounds.
• Learning About Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Aldha, NYC-DOE http://schools.nyc.gov/documents/misc/EID_Cultural_Teacher_guide_web.pdf
• This Is Where I Need To Be: Oral Histories of Muslim Youth in NYC http://www.lulu.com/shop/student-press-initiative/this-is-where-i-need-to-be-oral-histories-of-muslim-youth-in-nyc-hardcover/hardcover/product-2844500.html
• Young Muslim Americans Are Feeling the Strain of Suspicion https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/nyregion/young-muslim-americans-are-feeling-the-strain-of-suspicion.html?_r=0
The series of short films The Secret Life of Muslims uses humor and empathy to subvert stereotypes and reveal the truth about American Muslims: fascinating careers, unexpected talents, and inspiring accomplishments, providing a counter-narrative to the rampant Islamophobia prevalent in the media.
In this Buzzfeed podcast, host Ahmed Ali Akbar invites writers, teachers, comedians, musicians to share stories about being Muslim in America. They talk about about their personal experiences not only for Muslims or on behalf of all Muslims, dealing with a different topic each week.
One of the skills highlighted in the Common Core State Standards for mathematics involves generating and analyzing patterns and pattern relationships. Islamic art made for a religious purpose or setting does not include images of people, and often focuses on intricate geometric designs. A close look at Islamic art provides an opportunity, not only for the reinforcement of these Common Core skills, but also for a glimpse inside this important culture.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of Islamic art is one of the most important and comprehensive in the world. It comprises more than twelve thousand works of art created in a vast geographical area, stretching from Spain to India. This guide and the organization of the Museum's galleries emphasize the diversity of regional traditions and their cultural contexts, rather than presenting the art and culture of the Islamic world as a single monolithic entity dominated by religion.
Learn about art and culture of the Islamic world and glean ideas for supporting studies of English language arts, math, science, social studies, world history, and visual arts.
The ultimate goal of the Pedagogy Collection is to facilitate and enhance the teaching of art and architecture produced by predominantly Muslim societies by showcasing the rich possibilities of Archnet.Sourced predominantly from the vast Archnet website, which contains both image and textual sources in a single location, the collection includes both prepared lectures as well as the ability for individuals to create their own using the ‘thumbnail bar’ feature. The prepared lectures are available for download as PowerPoint files and can be easily tailored to meet an instructor’s specific needs.
The Brooklyn Children’s Theatre (BCT), in association with the Doris Duke Foundation of Islamic Art, has created four original musicals with Muslim Protagonists for children to perform. These musicals allow non-Muslim and Muslim children alike to experience the culture and everyday experiences of their classmates and neighbors, to learn about the local New York City history, and develop confidence in their own voices and identities.
Hijabi Monologues is an international project focusing on the real-life experiences of both local and international Muslim women. It is about creating a theater space for the experiences of Muslim women; a space to breathe as they are; a space that does not claim to tell every story and speak for every voice.
Footsteps in the Dark is an original dance production that showcases the work of American and International dancers of Muslim backgrounds specialized in various contemporary forms of dance connected to Hip-Hop culture. It also thematically explores the sometimes delicate nature in which Hip Hop and Dance intersect with Muslim communities.
The Bridge Initiative was born out of recognition that the age of the Internet-with its democratization of communications-presents unique challenges and opportunities for those seeking to educate the public and inform popular culture.
In recent decades, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry and discrimination has increased exponentially in the United States and Europe, with national and global consequences. Pseudo-scholars and polemicists peddle their writing online, are viewed by many as credible and reliable voices, and therefore strongly impact popular culture.
The Network Against Islamophobia (NAI), a project of Jewish Voice for Peace, was created to serve as a resource in organizing against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism and to be a partner to the broader, Muslim-led movement against Islamophobia. NAI provides workshop curricula and modules, and facilitates online resource-sharing of FAQs, public letters, press statements, articles, and other materials.
Islamophobia is Racism provides an interdisciplinary reading list for teaching and learning about anti-Muslim racism in the United States. The term Islamophobia frames the forms of discrimination Muslims face in the US solely as a problem of religious discrimination, and suggests that it is solely a problem of individual bias. This syllabus reframes “Islamophobia” as “anti-Muslim racism” to more accurately reflect the intersection of race and religion as a reality of structural inequality and violence rooted in the longer history of US (and European) empire building. While the readings include pieces that address recent events like the 2017 “Muslim ban” executive order, they also show that similar policies extend to both earlier moments and other communities.
This guide was created by a group of educators and counselors working in New York City Schools, as part of an Inquiry to Action Group (ItAG) organized by the New York Collective of Radical Educators. We work with young people in transfer schools, international high schools, ‘regular’ high schools and elementary schools, independent schools and non-profit in-school partnerships. We came to this study group, on the heels of a hugely divisive election cycle firmly planted in anti-Muslim rhetoric. While this vitriol is neither new nor solely practiced by one political party, this moment is uniquely alarming to us. As educators and allies to those most impacted by institutional, political, cultural and social islamophobia, we came to this ItAG hungry to unpack this context and learn how we can interrupt islamophobia, inside and outside our classrooms.
MTV’s “Look Different” campaign is here to help you contextualize the current threats to equality, empower you to rebel against injustice and show you how to protect yourself from hate. We’ll help you unlearn biases, open up conversations with family & friends and always give you specific things you can do to fight for what’s right.
Our mission is to reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and support equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. We believe that schools must educate all students for full participation in a diverse democracy.
Our program emphasizes social justice and anti-bias. The anti-bias approach encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives. Our Social Justice Standards show how anti-bias education works through the four domains of identity, diversity, justice and action.
Immigrant Student Success: Models and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators, a free online workshop hosted every July, is for teachers, administrators, librarians, counselors and volunteers to encourage the progress of immigrant and refugee students for the benefit of the whole classroom through interactive webinars, group activities and live exercises with experts.
Shortly after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush announced these as acts of war, and proclaimed a “war on terrorism.” But what exactly was to be the target of this war? And what precisely did the president mean by terrorism? Despite uttering the words “terror,” “terrorist,” or “terrorism” 32 times in his September 20 speech to the nation, he never defined terrorism. Teachers need to engage our students in a deep critical reading of terms—such as “terrorism,” “freedom,” “patriotism,” and “our way of life”—that evoke vivid images but can be used for ambiguous ends.
Since September 11, 2001, the balance between civil liberties and security has often tipped in favor of the latter. But this imbalance is also part of our history. Only seven years after the Bill of Rights was signed, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts. During World War I, a new and more virulent rendition of these acts became law. In the wake of September 11, we saw the passage of the PATRIOT Act. The voices in this chapter recognize that we are fighting old enemies in a new political package. They ask us to listen carefully to the reasons the Bush administration gave for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They ask us to learn from our past mistakes and to question governmental decisions that have lead us into new wars.
Women & Gender
ReOrienting the Veil invites you on a journey that explores Islamic veiling practices in transnational contexts and from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The site has multiple entry points for educators and students alike who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the nature, meaning and displays of Islamic veiling around the world.
An original play based on interviews and real life stories of Syrian refugees in the United States. The lives of four young Syrians are changed forever after anti-government protests transpire in the city of Daraa. Throughout the next six years, each of them is forced to undergo a unique and heroic journey, while the turmoil in their country erupts into a full fledged civil war. From the Middle East to the streets of New Orleans, Lost and Guided is a universal story of love, friendship, and the struggle for happiness. Based on transcripts from writer-director Irene Kapustina’s interviews with Syrian refugees living in the US.
This site was developed by the Gulf/2000 Project at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University in New York City. It is designed to make available in a single location a wealth of information on the eight countries of the Persian Gulf region--Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Resources from partner centers and institutes