MEOC Business Meeting Minutes

Saturday, November 19, 2016, 5:00-7:00 PM EST

Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, Boston, MA

Participants: Christopher Rose (University of Texas at Austin, President), Barbara Petzen (Middle East Connections & CSIS, Past President), Greta Scharnweber (New York University, President-Elect), Susan Douglass (Georgetown University, Board Member/Webmaster), Michael Freydin (New York City Public Schools, Board Member), Terence Gilheany (St. Andrew’s School, Board Member/Membership Chair), Vaughn Shannon (Wright State University, Board Member), Diana Shin (New York University, Board Member), Joe Stanik (New Era Academy, Secretary), Carlo Aragón (Hub of Arabic Language in Muscat), Katie Aslan (University of Texas at Austin), Marine Brichard (Indiana  University), Jean Campbell (Portland State University-Retired), Emma Harver (Duke University-University of North Carolina Consortium), Megan Geissler (Middle East Policy Council), Judith Katz (Primary Source), Melinda McClimans (Ohio State University), Larry Michalak (University of California, Berkeley-Retired), Margaret Marcotte (Yale), Emily Voight (Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center)


President Chris Rose brought the meeting to order at 5:02 PM and welcomed all attendees.

Minutes of 2015 Business Meeting

Secretary Joe Stanik distributed copies of the minutes from the business meeting, held November 21, 2015, in Denver, CO. The attendees briefly reviewed the minutes. There was a motion to approve the minutes, the motion was seconded, and the minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report

On behalf of Treasurer John Parcels, who could not attend, Chris reported that, as of November 16, 2016, MEOC has $3,340.00 in its checking account; $24,373.91 in its savings account; and $7,870.22 in its PayPal account. Total MEOC funds are $35,584.13. Chris pointed out that there was no Saudi Aramco donation this year due to the drop in oil prices. The attendees briefly reviewed the report. There was a motion to approve the treasurer’s report, the motion was seconded, and the report was approved.  

Chris also reported that John has stepped down as MEOC Treasurer. Speaking for all past and present members of MEOC, Chris thanked John for his many years of outstanding and devoted service to MEOC.

Election Results

Past President Barbara Petzen thanked all members who participated in the MEOC election by running for a board position and/or voting. She thanked outgoing board members, Betsey Coleman and Lisa Adeli, for their service and presented the results of the 2016 election. Chris was reelected as president, Angela Williams won a second two-year term on the board, and Susan Douglass and Michael Freydin were elected to their first two-year terms. (Michael received a travel award and was able to attend the MEOC business and board meetings.) Barbara announced that Sharon Smith, who was reelected to a two-year term in 2015, has resigned from the board.


Membership Chair Terence Gilheany reported that MEOC has 40 individual educator and outreach members, 12 institutional members, 765 access members, and five lifetime members.

Teachers’ Workshop

Chris and Barbara recapped highlights of the teachers’ workshop “Religious Identity and Expression in the Middle East,” hosted by Primary Source on Saturday, November 19, in Watertown, MA. Chris, Barbara, and Susan opened the workshop with a panel discussion of frequently asked questions about religious traditions of the Middle East. Terence talked about how he teaches comparative religions in the classroom, and Susan Zeiger of Primary Source shared a variety of online resources with participants. The day concluded with an experiential activity with teachers working in groups to analyze sets of objects in four categories related to religious expression in the Middle East (artistic expression, music, popular/folk traditions, and ‘orthodox’ practice and devotion) in order to design a real or virtual museum exhibit.


“Nuts and Bolts” Outreach Coordinators’ Workshop 

Chris and Barbara reported on the outreach coordinators’ workshop, which was held Friday, November 18. Attendees discussed opportunities for public scholarships, such as those available through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Chris pointed out that the quantity of study abroad scholarships currently exceeds the number of applicants. Dale Correa, the Global Studies Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin, discussed establishing a common library of children’s Middle East-related literature and similar resources for refugee populations from the Middle East. Greta Scharnweber and Megan Geissler presented an overview of Teaching the Middle East: A Resource Guide for American Educators, a digital book produced by TeachMideast, an educational initiative of the Middle East Policy Council.  


Chris reported that the 2016 National Conference for Teachers of English (NCTE) was held November 17-20 in Atlanta, GA. MEOC Operated a booth in conjunction with the Consortium of Centers for Latin American Studies.

Barbara reported that the 2016 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Annual Conference will be held December 2-4 in Washington, DC. On December 1, MEOC members and other scholars will present a pre-conference, day-long clinic “In Their Own Voices: Middle East Perspectives in the Classroom.” Venues for the clinic include Georgetown University and the Smithsonian. The Middle East Outreach Booth at NCSS has nine cosponsors. Barbara pointed out that next year’s NCSS conference in San Francisco, CA, and the MESA meeting in Washington will overlap. (The NCSS conference is scheduled for November 17-19; the MESA meeting will take place November 18-21.)

MEOC Book Awards

On behalf of Book Awards Committee Chair Lisa Adeli, who could not attend, Megan thanked and recognized all book awards subcommittee chairs and subcommittee members: Picture Book Category--K.E. Hones (chair), Elizabeth (Pearce) Sturm, Debbie Silverman, Roberta Robinson, Karen Pike, and Daniella Garran; Youth Literature Category--Megan Geissler (chair), Julie Wakefield, Jennifer Johnson-Marlow, Danielle Levine, and Gale Carter; and Youth Non-Fiction Category--Lisa Adeli (chair), Michael Eisenberg, Vaughn Shannon, Vasiliki Dardeshi, Shana Roberts, and Deb Holland.

Megan announced the results in each category:

        No award for 2016.

        Winners (2):

        When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi (William Morrow)

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Ozge Samanci (Farrar Strauss Giroux for Young Readers)

        Honorable Mention:

        It Ain’t So Awful Felafel by Firoozeh Dumas (Clarion Books)

        Winners (2):

        Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader by David A. Adler (Puffin)

The Ancient Egyptians (Discover) by Isabel and Imogen Greenberg (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)

Chris and Barbara encouraged members to identify and nominate books for next year’s competition. They also encouraged members to publicize the 2016 winning and honorable mention books by sharing the titles with individual teachers, school libraries, public libraries, state departments of education, etc. Barbara also suggested that outreach centers hold a competition for lesson plans using books receiving MEOC awards.

Other Business

The MEOC board meeting will take place Sunday, November 20, 9-11 AM, in the MIT room (3rd floor) of Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel.

Outreach Activities Reports:

Attendees reported on their interesting and diverse outreach activities.

Chris adjourned the meeting at 6:49 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Joseph T. Stanik

MEOC Secretary