Summer Institute

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

Dimensions of the Middle East: Foundations, Cultures, and Geopolitics

A Summer Institute for Educators

June 24-29, 2018 | Duke University

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40 teachers from across the country will join us for a five-day workshop this summer designed to introduce teachers to different dimensions of the Middle East. From social movements to geopolitics to cultures and more, teachers will deepen their understanding of both the historic and modern Middle East. Participants will learn from scholars and community experts, engage with authentic texts, and participate in experiential learning activities. Throughout the 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.

Congratulations to the 2018 Summer Institute Cohort! The institute’s participants were chosen through a competitive, nation-wide application. The educators will travel from 21 different states and represent a variety of teaching disciplines from the social sciences, language arts, and more. 

Seminar Curriculum

During the summer institute, participants will explore various facets of the Middle East to enhance historical, political, and cultural knowledge of the region. Each day will be spent exploring a new theme including: the foundations of Islam and the modern Middle East; social movements and nationalism; cultures, identity, and belonging; as well as contemporary issues and geopolitics. Connections to current events in the region will be made throughout the program to provide engaging and relevant content. 

Sessions with K-12 education specialists will be integrated during the program to help teachers link content learned with pedagogical practice. Educators will gain resources and teaching strategies to engage students in learning about and developing new perspectives of the region.

Working in small groups, participants will begin to develop a thematic lesson plan or activity integrating workshop content. Time will be allocated at the end of the program for research and drafting 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 institute.

Professional Development Credit

Each participant will be awarded a professional development certificate at the end of the institute. Given that each state has different rules regarding obtaining professional development credit, the amount of credit an educator receives for participating in the program may vary.

Housing, Meals, and Travel

All travel-related logistics and expenses will be arranged and covered for selected participants including travel, lodging, and meals. Any expenses associated with materials required for the program will also be covered. Teachers will be housed in a hotel in downtown Durham, and will be transported to and from Duke University and other institute activities. Flight expenses or mileage reimbursements will be available to all selected participants.


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

Duke and QFI piloted a similar summer institute in June 2017 with the theme “The Middle East and Islam: New perspectives of Islamic History from the 16th century to the present”. Feedback from the pilot participants is being used to guide the development of the 2018 institute. To learn more about the experience of teachers who participated in the 2017 summer institute, please visit here.

For a PDF download of the application announcement, click below.


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