Summer Institute for K-12 Educators, July 2022

Studying the Middle East is important to understanding World War I; understanding World War I is essential in comprehending the Middle East today. Wartime experiences, diplomacy during the conflict and treaties of conclusion form the basis of contemporary concerns within the region. The National WWI Museum and Memorial is pleased to announce a Summer 2022 professional development opportunity to help teachers more fully understand the past and present of this complicated world region. The World War I in the Middle East Summer Institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

About the Program

World War I in the Middle East is an NEH-funded two-week residential Summer Institute for 28 K-12 educators. This competitive and rewarding professional development will be held July 10-22, 2022, at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Institute is designed to be academic, interactive and practical, covering three major objectives:

  • Facilitating participants’ academic growth as they engage in an in-depth exploration of the Middle East during World War I
  • Bringing together K-12th grade educators with their counterparts, providing the framework for an exchange of ideas and discussion of their teaching implications
  • Developing curricula and presentations to bring participants’ new knowledge into U.S. classrooms and to share them with other educators.
Sepia photograph of four WWI-era Turkish men dressed in Turkish military uniform or civilian clothing
Ottoman officers and civilians.

Institute Topics

An interdisciplinary humanities program, the Institute will go beyond the traditional Western-centered emphasis on diplomacy and troop movements, focusing instead on the enduring impact of World War I on the Middle East. Topics of study will include the impact of the war on Ottoman soldiers; the Middle Eastern home fronts; women’s issues; disease/public health; and the development of nationalist narratives in the Arab lands, in Turkey and among Ottoman minority groups. (See the schedule and agenda for specific information.)

Core Readings

Using interdisciplinary and varied sources (including literature, gender studies and geography), participants will gain diverse perspectives on a complex subject. The Institute’s readings are a mix of new scholarship examining critical issues for the Middle East in WWI and primary sources that explore the impact of experiences endured by the region’s people. The primary text is Leila Tarazi Fawaz’s A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War (Harvard University Press, 2014), a book focusing on the stories of both soldiers and civilians who lived through the war, adapted to radical changes brought about by revolution and grappled with the overwhelming aftermath of a war that left much of the population feeling bitter and betrayed. (Read an excerpt from The Wilson Quarterly: The Forgotten Soldiers: India and Pakistan in the Great War by Leila Tarazi Fawaz — winter 2015: The Shadow of the Great Wars | The Wilson Quarterly). Additional readings, such as book chapters, journal articles and excerpts, are assigned daily, corresponding with each day’s topic. In addition, small groups will work with diaries, memoirs or films. (See Reading list for specific assignments.)

Depending on public health guidelines related to COVID-19, plans for a residential offering are subject to change.

Contact Information

You can reach us at

Black and white photograph of Arab men standing together with another man riding a camel at center


Seal of the National Endowment for the Humanities

The World War I in the Middle East Summer Institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Institute do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.