Connecting the Middle East to the Southeast: A local study tour for educators on Middle Eastern food
August 15, 2017,  9am-5pm | Duke University, North Carolina

This one-day professional development program offered a meaningful experience for teachers to deepen their understanding of Middle Eastern cultures and foodways. By creating an immersive “study tour” environment, the program provided a global experience for teachers without leaving NC. The day began with a lecture by a scholar of Middle East studies. Then, we traveled to a variety of food establishments in the Triangle area.

Top Left: Teachers sample nut-butter based Turkish halva with pistachios | Top Right: Teachers enjoy an interactive cooking experience at the Levin Jewish Community Center and braid their own challah loaves. Challah is a special Jewish bread, usually braided and typically eaten on ceremonial occasions such as Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. | Bottom: Teachers enjoy a presentation on Ottoman and contemporary Turkish culture and cusisine by Hatice Orun Ozturk, created of turkisheats.com 

In preparation for the tour, teachers completed readings to provide background knowledge on Middle Eastern food cultures. Teachers earned up to 10 contact hours, or 1 continuing education unit, by successfully participating in the entire Study Tour. 8 hours were earned on the day of the program, and 2 hours were earned by completing 4 readings with reading guide prior to the tour.

22 teacher participants were selected for this program. This program was free, and breakfast and lunch were provided.

Application Guidelines:
*Open to all currently practicing K-12 educators and curriculum coordinators in North Carolina.
*Teachers must intend on teaching in the next consecutive school year.
Please contact Outreach Coordinator, Emma Harver, at harver@email.unc.edu or 919-962-6732 with any questions.

*details subject to change, please click here for full itinerary details
8:30-9:00am          Registration and Light Breakfast
9:00-9:15am          Welcome & Introductions
9:15-10:30am        Introduction to the Middle East: Cultures, Politics, and Environment
10:45am-12:00pm Power of Food in Connecting to a Cultural Identity: Turkish Culture
12:30-1:30pm        Immigrant Experience and Food Politics: Mediterranean Lunch & Discussion
1:30-1:45pm          Explore Mediterranean Deli Grocery
2:10-4:00pm          Food and Religion: Israeli Food, Jewish Food, and an Interactive Cooking Experience
4:15-4:50pm          Curriculum Connections
4:50-5:00pm          Evaluation

To expand upon the one day study tour experience, preparation for the tour includes completion of four reading guides. These short, informational articles or resources are to further your understanding of food and cultural identities, food and the immigrant experience, and food and religion. You may choose the four out of the following six reading guides that appeal to you most from this reading syllabus (though we recommend reading everything) to complete this summer. We will collect the four reading guides at the workshop on August 15, or they can be returned to harver@email.unc.edu as you complete them. Completion of four reading guides is required for receiving all 10 PD Contact Hours.


Top Left: Teachers pick up their freshly-baked braided challah loaves to take home and enjoy | Top Right: Teachers sample Israeli and Jewish foods prepared by volunteers at the Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham | Bottom: Books and other suggested materials for teaching about the Middle East, and World History more broadly, using food.