Muslims in New York
On February 14, 2002, Columbia University's Muslim Communities in New York City Project,
supported by the Ford Foundation, hosted a one-day in-service training for over one hundred New
York City high school teachers. This special program, (Re)embracing Diversity in New York
City Public Schools: Educational Outreach for Muslim Sensitivity, provided teachers with a
fully integrated mini-curriculum that addresses the problem of intolerance towards Arab-, South
Asian- and Muslim-Americans in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11.
The curriculum (Re)embracing Diversity combines a wealth of information about Islam
and Muslims with interactive classroom activities that foster the critical importance of
tolerance and respect for ethnic and religious diversity. For the convenience of teachers,
the curriculum is downloadable either in its entirety or as individual lesson plans depending
on students' needs or interests. Also, most lessons include one or more handouts, but these
must be downloaded separately from the instructor's guide.
For questions or further information about (Re)embracing Diversity or the Muslims in
New York City Project at Columbia University, please contact Lou Cristillo, Project
(212) 854-2703, fax: (212) 854-1413, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Instructor’s Guide
- Module One
- Module Two
- Module Three
- Handouts and Video Resources
- End Notes
Religious and Cultural Missions
THE MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE AT BELLAGIO
Dr. Reeva Simon, Assistant Director of the Middle East Institute, and Dr. Eleanor H.
Tejirian, Research Associate, were invited by the Rockefeller Foundation to hold an
international conference on "Altruism and Imperialism: Western Religious and Cultural
Missions in the Middle East," at the Foundation's conference center in Bellagio, Italy,
from August 28-September 1, 2000. The sixteen participants in the conference came from six
countries in the Middle East and Europe, as well as the United States. Most of the
participants submitted research papers, which were discussed at the conference and will
soon be posted on CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online)
The conference center at Bellagio is housed in a sixteenth century villa that was given
to the Rockefeller Foundation in 1959 by Her Serene Highness, Ella, Principessa della
Torre e Tasso, the former Ella Walker, heiress to the Hiram Walker fortune. Located on
a hillside overlooking the village of Bellagio, the three arms of Lake Como, and the Alps, the
estate occupies a promontory extending into the lake and is crowned by the ruins of a medieval
fortress. Approximately twenty scholars in the sciences, the arts, and the social sciences are
invited to spend a month in residence at the center, and are joined by participants in week-long
conferences such as ours, described by the foundation as "small, non-routine conferences that
might be expected to arrive at important conclusions concerning the state of knowledge in a
given field and point out a path for future development."
The intention of the conference on "Altruism and Imperialism" was to bring together scholars
from several countries who have been using missionary sources in their research, or who have
been working specifically on topics dealing with missionaries. The term "missionary" was broadly
defined to include not only Protestant, Anglican, and Roman Catholic missionaries, but also the
French lay mission and the Alliance Israelite Universelle, both of which sought to spread French
culture rather than having a specifically religious agenda. Our goal was to examine the relevance
of mission sources for the broader study of political, social, and economic change in the Middle
East, and to retrieve the mission experience as part of the history of the region. Beyond that,
we sought to consider the role of the missions in setting an agenda for Western concern that
would be carried through by nongovernmental organizations in the present day.
During the conference Dr. Simon presented a paper entitled "The Case of the Curse," which
examined the activities of the London Society in Jerusalem and Baghdad in the mid-nineteenth
century, and Dr. Tejirian presented a paper entitled "Faith of our Fathers: Missionaries and
NGOs," which focused on the transition from Near East Relief, a quasi-missionary organization
providing relief primarily to Christians during and after World War I, to the Near East
Foundation, its successor organization, which is an NGO working not only in the Middle East
but also in sub-Saharan Africa today.
Professor Richard Bulliet also attended the conference, presenting a paper on the American
University of Beirut, which was based on the doctoral research of Alfred Howell.
Jean-Marc Oppenheim, administrative assistant at the Middle East Institute, served as
rapporteur for the conference.
A summary of the proceedings of the conference, as well as a list of participants and
the texts of several of the papers, will be available on CIAO [http://www.ciaonet.org/], and will be published as a volume in the Middle East Institute's Occasional Papers series.