Petra Conservation Issues

The ancient city of Petra (in present-day Jordan) is famous for being ENTIRELY carved into the red sandstone cliffs and valleys of Jordan’s expansive desert.  The city was even named one of the seven wonders of the world in a recent worldwide poll (which I completely agree with having been there last summer), but it is slowly falling apart from environmental degradation.  In ancient times the rock buildings were kept safe from erosion by an intricate irrigation system that kept water away from the walls and facades.  But now that this irrigation system is no longer functional the buildings are slowly succumbing to the tides of time and erosion, particularly the world famous treasury building – Washington Post

Middle East News – May 31st

– An Iranian man who escaped Iran after being imprisoned has begun a journey to run across the entire Middle East (finishing at Mt. Everest) in order to raise awareness for peace and solidarity in the region – CNN

– Yemen, which relies primarily on tourism and oil for its economy, has witnessed a sharp decline in tourism in recent months as violence between Yemen’s government and Al-Qaeda militants heightens – Al- Jazeera

– Israel has returned the bodies of ninety Palestinians who have been killed in conflicts with Israel since 1967 after holding them against Palestinian will for decades – Al-Jazeera

– Hillary Clinton directly blamed Russia for propping up Asad’s Syrian regime and said that Russia could be one of the primary causes of an impending civil war in Syria – BBC

– An Israeli citizen has been jailed for attempting to become a Palestinian citizen, highlighting the extensive tensions that still exist between these two ‘countries’ – al-bawaba

– The rebels in Syria have said that they give Assad until noon on Friday to okay the peace plan put forward by the UN’s Kofi Annan – if he does not accept the plan the rebels will also not stick by the plan’s stipulations, probably leading to further escalations of violence – al-bawaba

– Iranian officials have admitted that they have been supplying Assad’s regime with weapons and supplies through the ue of civilian airplanes, propping up his floundering regime – al-bawaba

Al-Jazeera Live Syrian Blog

The events in Syria are constantly morphing and changing, sometimes minute by minute.  So, if you want to stay in touch with what’s happening with Assad, the UN and the rebels, Al-Jazeera has a great live blog on Syrian happenings that is up to date and consistently updated.  One of many ways the internet is shedding continuous light on this unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Middle East News – May 30th

– The UN has discovered another grave of over a dozen bodies in Syria, resembling the Houla massacre found last week – Al Jazeera

– Iran has blamed the United States and Israel for perpetuating the Flame virus that is wreaking havoc on Iran’s internet infrastructure – Flame is considered one of the most intricate viruses ever developed – Al Jazeera

– Arabic has overtaken English as the most used language on Facebook in the Middle East – al-bawaba

– Christians in Egypt were not specifically targeted by any political candidates in the recent elections, leaving them to begrudgingly choose a candidate who is closest to their interests – many do not see a ‘good’ choice – al-bawaba

– Syria reports that it will finish its investigation of the Houla massacre sometime tomorrow – Syria is certain its military was not involved, while the UN is equally convinced the Syrian government is culpable – CNN

– The Flame virus continues to harm internet users in Iran and Syria – the virus attacks the computers of many who are trying to circumvent the censors in both countries – BBC

– Only a couple of days before Mubarak’s trial will end, two of his sons were convicted of insider trading, shedding doubt on the criminal nature of the Mubarak administration – CNN

– A rise in female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia is giving females more economic power than ever before in a country where they can’t yet drive – CNN

Job Opportunity in Oman

The Center for International Learning (CIL) is recruiting for the position of Academic Director of its study abroad program for the coming academic year. The selected candidate will come on board in mid-July to early August, and will work on our campus in Muscat, capital city of the Sultanate of Oman.

CIL is an American-Omani educational institution that provides semester-long study abroad programs for students coming mainly from U.S. colleges and universities, but also from Europe and Japan. We also offer intensive Arabic language programs at all levels (both individual and group), and programs to help students and professionals hone skills in leadership, critical thinking and program management. Until recently our staff was with World Learning/SIT, but as of May 1 the Center became an independent organization. We offer the same programs on the same campus, and all members of the staff continue on, including our renowned Arabic language instructors who teach more than 225 students each year.

Required Education and Experience
The Academic Director must have a Master’s degree, and preferably a Ph.D in relevant fields pertaining to the political economy and culture of the Middle East and/or the Gulf. Advanced Arabic language competency is desirable, although a quick learner currently with Intermediate abilities will be considered if other skills are strong.

Previous teaching experience is strongly desired, preferably with university undergraduates. The position also requires someone with strong scholarly knowledge of Oman and/or the Gulf and the ability to interest and interact with students on a daily basis. Additional desired skills and experience include management ability, experience in planning and organizing, a love of learning, a sense of humor, and the capacity to work in a leadership capacity as part of a team.

Roles of the Academic Director (AD)
Our study abroad program in Oman is on the semester model, running fifteen weeks from early September through mid December, and from late January through mid-May. The AD will hold an annual ten-month contract, and his/her responsibilities will include the following:

  • Full development and implementation of the curriculum and other scholarly components of the program,  Oman: Managing Modernity, Translating Traditions,
  • Recruiting visiting lecturers (mostly locally) for course modules,
  • Teaching modules and facilitating workshops and discussions,
  • Overseeing all academic planning for each semester, including group trips and excursions,
  • Providing an orientation week to familiarize students with Muscat, as well as cultural traditions of relevance, including dress and behavioral expectations while guests in Oman,
  • Overseeing the health and safety of students while in residence,
  • Managing all student and program logistics, and interfacing with other CIL staff as well as U.S., Omani and other institutions, and
  • Evaluating the academic progress of each student, and providing (as needed by sending institutions) written evaluations and/or letter grades.
Please forward resumes to

Also, visit our website at

More Summer Internship Opportunities

The Centre for Mediterranean, Middle East and Islamic Studies (CEMMIS) of the University of Peloponnese is
offering three research internships for the summer.  Interns will be surveying and analyzing the current political and social climate of the Middle East.  The internship is for an entire academic year and is available for both undergraduate and graduate students in the area of Middle East Studies.  More info can be found in this attachment.

Additionally there is a further opportunity to study abroad for people from Egypt, Germany, Morocco and Tunisia through an academic exchange program –

The Goethe-Institut, the Kulturwissenschaftliche Institut Essen and the Zentrum für Mittelmeerstudien are looking for young academics from the countries of Egypt, Germany, Morocco, and Tunisia for the ex-change project Scholars in Residence.

Scholars in Residence is a residency program for young academic researchers that promotes the ex-change of scholarly research and provides guest residencies for researchers in the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences to visit their colleagues in Germany and abroad. Young scholars are given the opportunity to forge intensive relationships with other researchers, to pursue joint projects and to develop long-term bilateral collaborations within an international context. The program partners a foreign scholar and German scholar who focus on projects that bear upon the program’s annual research themes. Within the focal subject matter, one academic each from the countries of Egypt, Morocco, or Tunisia and one German academic will form a duo team.

The Scholars in Residence research themes for 2012/2013 are:
– Climate and Culture
– Migration and Integration
– Culture and Conflict / Cultural Memory
– Science, Culture and Digital Media / Intellectual Property
– (City) Culture and Public Space

Residency in the host country lasts between six and eight weeks. The scholar from Egypt, Morocco or Tunisia will travel to Germany as of October 15, 2012; the German scholar will travel to his/her partner’s country as of January 1, 2013.

The call for applications addresses young academics from the humanities, the cultural, and the social sciences. You can apply individually or already submit a partner application (German applicant and overseas applicant). Eligibility:  PhD students and Postdocs.  Fluency in English (German is not required for participation)

Deadline: June 30, 2012. More information at:

Middle East News – May 29th

Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmad Shafiq headquarters were burned down yesterday by protesters after the results of Egypt’s recent presidential election were announced.

– Egypt’s wine-makers (among other industries) fear what would happen to the country’s economy if Islamic law was implemented.  Wine and all other alcohol would be banned according to teachings from the Qur’an and hadith – CNN

– In response to the instability in Lebanon caused by the Syrian conflict Israel has begun to build a wall along its border with Lebanon in order to ensure the safety of border residents – al-bawaba

– Egypt’s political election continues to be rocked by  controversy as a horde of protesters set fire to presidential candidate Ahmad Shafiq’s headquarters when the results of the election were announced (Shafiq came in first) – Al Jazeera

– Mohammad Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate in Egypt, has promised to create a bi-partisan regime that will include elements of the entire Egyptian political scope – BBC

– A reporter from Amnesty International’s response to the international inactivity in regards to the Syrian conflict – Al Jazeera

– Countries around the world have begun expelling Syrian diplomats as a condemnation of Syria’s ‘excecution’ of many at Houla last week.  Syrian leader Assad also met with UN’s Kofi Annan, and said the violence will not stop until ‘terrorism’ within Syria is stopped- Al Jazeera

– Recently Iran has been hit by a wave of cyber attacks that attempted to gain control of secret information in Iran’s technological infrastructure.  Yesterday though, Iran announced that they have discovered a solution to defend against these attacks and keep their secrets safe – BBC