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2021-22 Teacher Program

School teachers and community-college instructors today increasingly need expertise and innovative ways to teach about world cultures and global issues.

This program builds a community of Grade 6-14 educators who will enrich and revitalize their teaching together around the topic of: Religious and Cultural Diversity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and in Southeast Asia (SEA). Throughout the academic year, the cohort of educators will participate in expert-led workshops, discuss assigned readings, attend world-class artistic performances and cultural events, visit houses of worship and museums, and meet with religious leaders and representatives from local MENA and SEA communities. Activities also include exploring classroom strategies for teaching about the topic and developing curricular components and units about MENA and SEA.

Public-health conditions permitting, the cohort will assemble from 9:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. one Saturday every month between September 2021 and June 2022 (except December), usually on U-M’s Ann Arbor central campus. If public health conditions remain unsafe due to the pandemic, the cohort will convene virtually and remotely until it is safe to assemble in person. 

Public-health conditions permitting, the MENA-SEA Teacher Program also hopes to offer in July 2022 an (optional) GEEO (Global Exploration for Educators) trip to one or more countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, or North Africa. On this trip, the cohort will together expand the knowledge and skills acquired in the year-long program to bring their travel experiences directly into their classrooms. The two centers’ outreach coordinator(s) will accompany the participants to help contextualize and reflect upon what they are seeing and learning. Educators’ $1,000 honoraria may be used to offset fees from the GEEO trip. 

If submitting online: Materials may be uploaded via the data-intake online form. If you prefer not to upload your materials via the data-intake form, please email your files to:

Rima Hassouneh, rhassoun@umich.edu; subject heading: “Application to 2021-2022 MENA-SEA Teacher Program.”

Please note: An application without ANY of the five requirements will be considered incomplete, and will NOT be reviewed.

The tentative schedule for the 2021-2022 MENA-SEA Teacher Program: 

September 18, 2021; October 23, 2021; November 13, 2021; January 8, 2022; February 12, 2022; March 12, 2022; April 9, 2022; May 7, 2022; June 3, 2022 (falls on a Friday)

Intended Participants

  • Grade 6-14 educators from public, private, and charter schools, and from community colleges
  • Grade 6-14 school leaders, librarians, and other school-based educators
  • Teachers in the profession for five or fewer years are especially encouraged to apply
  • Educators who teach (or plan to teach) about the rich religious diversity in MENA and/or SEA, in a wide range of curricula, including courses in global studies, comparative religious studies, world history, literature, the arts, and other fields

Applicants not currently teaching should use their essays to describe the impact their participation in the program will have on teaching and learning at their schools and colleges (for example through curriculum development or programs for students).

Application Requirements

Application materials must include these five components:

  • Online data-intake form
  • Résumé or CV: Not to exceed five pages, detailing your educational qualifications and professional experience
  • Application Essay: Should not exceed four double‑spaced pages in length and should address all of the following questions:
    • What motivates you to apply for this program?
    • What qualifications and/or international experiences equip you to make the most of the program and to contribute to its learning community?
    • How do you plan to incorporate what you have learned in the program in your teaching and with fellow educators?
  • Lesson Plan: A lesson plan and a one-page reflective response about the execution of the lesson plan. (The lesson plan need not teach about one or either of the two regions.)
  • Recommendation Form, via this link. Should be written by a senior colleague or administrator at your school (e.g., your department chair, assistant principal, or principal). The form will be submitted independent of the rest of the application materials. Please give your recommender ample notice of the deadline.

An application without ANY of these five components will be considered incomplete, and will NOT be reviewed.

Selection Criteria

The selection committee will evaluate applications based on the evidence of:

  • effectiveness and commitment as an educator
  • motivation and commitment to international education
  • perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program’s learning community
  • evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on your teaching

Successful applicants will be notified via e-mail of their selection by Monday, April 19, 2021, and they will have till Monday, May 3, 2021, to accept or decline the offer. When choices must be made between equally qualified candidates, preference is given to those who would enhance the diversity of the program’s cohort.

Conditions and Benefits

Program participants must attend and participate in the all-day workshops, meetings, site visits, etc., held on each scheduled Saturday between September 2021 and June 2022 (excluding December). By the end of the program, teacher-fellows are also required to produce two lesson plans, one about each region, that will be shared publicly and freely on the websites of CSEAS and CMENAS. They also must complete evaluations of the program.

Each educator successfully completing the program will receive:

  • $1,000 honorarium award. This may be used to offset fees from the GEEO trip in the summer of 2022 to Southeast Asia or to the Middle East or North Africa. 
  • SCECH eligibility from the Michigan Department of Education (for Grade 6-12 educators)
  • Tickets to cultural events, artistic performances, and museums as part of the cohort activities
  • Reimbursement for travel to/from U-M Ann Arbor and overnight lodging for long-distance travelers

Failure to complete the program requirements will result in a reduction in the honorarium.