Summer Institute

The Duke Islamic Studies Center and Qatar Foundation International present a summer institute for 6-12 educators:

The Middle East and Islam: New perspectives of Islamic History from the 16th century to the present

June 25-29, 2017 | Duke University

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Join us for a five-day workshop this summer designed to introduce teachers to key themes in contemporary Islamic Studies. We will explore overviews of the Safavid and Ottoman empires and their modern counterparts in Iran and Turkey, as well as the impact of Islam in America today.  Teachers will engage with scholarly texts, learn about classroom resources, and participate in experiential learning activities such as visiting a mosque. Throughout the summer institute, teachers will think about how to bring these themes into their classrooms and will work in groups or individually to develop curriculum or materials for classroom use.

Seminar Curriculum

The workshop will be led by Dr. Omid Safi, a prominent Islamic studies scholar and director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC). During the workshop, participants will explore two examples of Middle East and Islamic civilizations: the Ottomans and the Safavids. Visual images of significant Ottoman buildings (such as the Suleymaniye and Sultanahmet mosques) will encourage participants to reflect upon their cultural significance. The importance of Shi’a belief as a state religion from the Safavid era to the Islamic Republic will also be covered.  The workshop will also engage with the development of contemporary Muslim societies in the United States and abroad. Each unit will consist of an initial lecture that will set the historic context for the unit.  Participants will then carefully work through the source materials that elucidate the topic.

Sessions with K-12 experts will be integrated into the workshop to help teachers link the content learned with pedagogical practice. Working in small groups, participants will begin to develop a lesson plan or activity integrating workshop content. Work-time will be allocated throughout the program for research and writing the draft of the lesson or classroom activity. Participants will continue to work on their resource after the workshop has completed, and will submit the final draft of their curricular resource within a month following the workshop.

Daily Schedule

Please click here for an idea of the daily schedule.  Please note that details are still subject to change. We will award professional development certificates at the end of the summer institute to every participant. Every state has different rules on professional development credit, so the amount of credit an educator receives for participating in the program may vary.

Housing, Meals, and Travel

All expenses will be covered for selected participants including travel, accommodations, meals, and books required for the program. Teachers will be housed in a hotel near Duke University’s west campus, and flight expenses or mileage reimbursements will be available to all selected participants. The main texts of the workshop will be provided to all teachers and will supplemented with additional books for teachers to take home intended as reference materials on the Middle East and Islam.

Eligibility and How to Apply

This program is open to all currently practicing educators teaching grades 6-12 who will be teaching in the next consecutive school year. Submitted applications will be evaluated by a selection committee. Given the themes of this institute, teachers of social studies and English will particularly benefit from this program. Please complete the application in full, and email to Optional: you may submit your resume or CV along with the completed application.

Application Deadline: Friday, May 26, 2017 at 5:00pm EST

Notification Date:  June 2, 2017

Please click here for the application form.


Please contact Emma Harver at or 919-962-6732 with any questions about the program or application process.

To download the Summer Institute Poster, click here.

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