Annual Business Meeting, at the MESA Conference, New Orleans, LA

Friday, October 11, 5:00-7:00 PM, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel


Attendees:  Barbara Petzen (Middle East Connections; MEOC President), Chris Rose (University of Texas at Austin; MEOC President-Elect), Jean Campbell (Eugene, OR; MEOC Past-President), Linda Adams (Utah), Lisa Adeli (University of Arizona), Zeina Azzam (Qatar Foundation International), David Cedor (Collier School), Betsey Coleman (Colorado Academy; MEOC Board Member), Montez Farah (Fayetteville, Ark.; Retired), Mounir Farah (University of Arkansas), Jonathan Friedlander (UCLA; MEOC Sponsored Projects Coordinator), Terence Gilheany (St. Andrew’s School; MEOC Board Member), Valerie Haskins (Haskins Home School), Joanna Hitchcock, Christy Honnen, Scott Kreps (Athens City Schools), Lora LeMosy (Yale University), Jonathan McCollum (UCLA), Sarah Meyrick (Harvard University), Larry Michalak (University of California, Berkeley; Retired), Maggie Nassif (Brigham Young University; MEOC Board Member), Labaron Palmer (University of Pennsylvania), Michelle Ramadan (Pingree School), Greta Scharnweber (New York University; MEOC Board Member/Newsletter Editor), Sharon Smith (MIT), Joe Stanik (New Era Academy; MEOC Secretary), Lorne Swarthout (Berkeley Carroll School).


President Barbara Petzen welcomed all attendees and called the meeting to order at 5:10 PM.

Minutes of the 2012 Business Meeting

Secretary Joe Stanik distributed minutes of the November 18, 2012, MEOC business meeting.  There was a motion to approve the minutes.  The motion was seconded, and the minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report

Joe delivered the Treasurer’s Report on behalf of Treasurer John Parcels.  MEOC has a balance of $22,073.91, and encumbered funds—checks that have been written but have not yet cleared—totaling $2,356.91.  This brings the total funds available to $19,717.00 as of Oct. 10, 2013.  There was a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report.  The motion was seconded, and the treasurer’s report was approved.


Election Results

Jean Campbell, nominations and elections committee chair, thanked the outstanding candidates, who ran for the three vacancies on the MEOC Board, and the members of the committee: Amber Blomquist, Chris Rose, and Joe.  She announced that Khodi Kaviani was reelected to a two-year term and that Terence Gilheany, Taylor Johnson, Maggie Nassif, and Sharon Smith were newly elected.  She reported that a three-way tie occurred for the third vacancy on the board.  The committee reviewed the results and decided to seat five board members.  Barbara thanked the outgoing board member--Amber Blomquist, Manoucher Khosrowshahi, and Lorne Swartout--for their service.

Travel Awards

On behalf of Manoucher Khosrowshahi, travel awards committee chair, Lorne announced that $500.00 travel stipends were awarded to David Cedor, Valerie Haskins, Scott Kreps, and Virginia Vassar.  (Virginia was unable to attend the MESA/MEOC meetings in New Orleans.)

Book Awards

On behalf of Regina Higgins, book awards committee chair, the three sub-committee chairs announced the winners in their respective categories:


Jean Campbell announced:

Winner—Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books, by Karen Leggett Abouraya, illustrated by Susan L. Roth (Dial).

Honorable Mention—Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini (Chronicle Books).


Betsey Coleman announced:

Winner—The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoir, by Sophia Al-Maria (HarperCollins).

Honorable Mention—A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return, by Zeina Abirached (Graphic Universe).

Honorable Mention—A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story, by Qais Akbar Omar (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux).


Lisa Adeli announced:

Co-Winner—The Compassionate Warrior: Abd el-Kader of Algeria, by Elsa Marston (Wisdom Tales).

Co-Winner—The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations, and Amazing Facts, by Saima Hussain (Annick Press).

(Other members of the book awards committee were Elisheva Cohen, Roberta Robinson, Kristy Brugar, K.E. Hones, Wendy Harris, and Cheryl Wiens of the picture book sub-committee; Barbara Petzen, Gena Marker, Elsa Marston, Kristie Al-Rashidi, Jeannine Kuropatkin, and Sophia Sarigianides of the youth literature sub-committee; and Jesse Rivera, Joe Stanik, Jacqueline Brown Williams, Denise Jones, and Brian Kelahan of the youth non-fiction sub-committee.)

MEOC Workshop

Barbara reminded attendees that the annual MEOC workshop for teachers will take place on Saturday, October 12, at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, starting at 9:00 AM.  The workshop topic is “Cultures in Connection: Louisiana, Latin America, and the Middle East.”

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Meeting

Barbara reported that the 2013 NCSS annual conference will take place Nov. 21-24 in St. Louis, MO.  Melinda McClimans is the MEOC booth coordinator.  The following MEOC members will be presenting at NCSS:  Barbara Petzen (“Following the Threads: Tracing Connections among Cultures at the Saint Louis Art Museum”) and Lisa Adeli (“Innovative Lessons on World War I: Balkans and Middle East”).

National Council for the Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention

Barbara reported that the 2013 NTCE annual convention will be held 21-24 Nov. in Boston, MA.  A global literature booth will be set up at the convention.

Perspectives Newsletter

Greta Scharnweber, newsletter editor, reported that the fall newsletter was not completed in time for the October MESA/MEOC meeting.  It will contain material covered in the MEOC teacher workshop.  Greta solicited ideas for the spring newsletter. Chris suggested Uzbekistan, and Greta suggested Central Asia and the Silk Road.

MEOC Website

On behalf of Susan Douglass, webmaster, Barbara reported that there is currently a backlog of updates for the website, but they will be installed by the first of the year.  She also solicited ideas to enrich the content of the website, such as a space for “Middle East literature for the classroom” and another for brief member reviews of videos, sites, books, etc. related to the Middle East; i.e., “MEOC Shorts.”

“Nuts and Bolts” Workshop for Outreach Coordinators

The “Nuts and Bolts” Workshop will be held on Sunday, Oct. 13, from 10 AM to noon in Oakley (4th floor) of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.  The focus will be on online education.  Participants and attendees will discuss their experiences in online education, namely what has worked, what has not worked, and other online issues.

Upcoming Events

Barbara reminded attendees of the following future events:

Textbook Review

On behalf of Khodi Kaviani, textbook review committee chair, Barbara reported that Khodi is finalizing a new textbook review rubric.  He will move the review process forward with the goal of completing it next year.  The review will include e-textbooks.

MEOC Funding for Research Projects

Jean is researching how other organizations manage their research grant programs with the goal of developing a protocol that will govern MEOC funding of research projects.


Attendees reported on their impressive and wide-ranging outreach activities, which took place all over the country and in many parts of the world during the past eleven months.

Barbara adjourned the meeting at 7:05 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph T. Stanik

MEOC Secretary