The first Civic Engagement Workshop was held from April 6-13, 2006, in Rabat, Morocco. Seven Moroccan secondary school teachers, all graduates of UME’s Teacher Education Institute, and four Boston-area high school teachers participated in the program.
In the workshop, participants were asked to collaboratively develop civic engagement activities for students. Discussion centered on the ways in which teachers could shape student involvement locally to both reflect and foster an international perspective, in line with the CEWs’ “Local Activism/Global Awareness” model of civic engagement.
Results of the workshop included: cultural exchange between Moroccan teachers and their American guests; “pen pal” programs and shared projects for American and Moroccan students; and the creation of the official Association of Moroccan Alumni of UME to further unite and organize Moroccan alumni of UME programming. Most importantly, each of the seven Moroccan high schools represented at the Rabat CEW developed new civic engagement activities for its students. Some of these included:
The 2006 Morocco CEW was a personally and professionally enriching experience for participants, and provided new opportunities to their students. UME plans to reproduce and build upon this success in further CEWs across the MENA region.
The Jordan CEW was an intensive week-long cultural, intellectual and professional exchange among a selected group of Jordanian and U.S. high school teachers to enhance their pedagogies and skills for effective civic engagement.
Organized and run by the University of the Middle East Project (UME), the workshop was held at Rawdat Alma’aref Schools and Colleges (RAMS) in Amman, Jordan, from December 12th to December 17th, 2007.
This workshop was designed to provide the participating high school teachers with an opportunity to inquire into the nature and workings of civic engagement. Guiding the workshop is a belief that teachers, regardless of discipline, become more effective educators when they become more aware of and involved in community civic matters. As leaders in their communities, teachers can create participatory learning spaces through civic engagement projects aimed at creating more inclusive schools and communities.
CEW participants were high school teachers interested in promoting greater inclusivity and social justice through collaborations between their schools and communities:
7 UME Alumni, High School Teachers from Jordan
6 High school teachers from the USA
The workshop was highly collaborative, with participants providing mutual support and feedback on each other’s projects before, during, and after the CEW. In addition, UME was pleased to welcome several esteemed guests to the practicum on Wednesday, December 12.
10 Award-winning teachers, recipients of the Queen Rania Award for excellence
5 Educators from the Jordan Education Initiative
Finally, participating teachers had the opportunity to pay official visits to two UNRWA schools in Amman, courtesy of an alumnus of UME and his school administration. Participants spent several hours touring the facilities and meeting with students, teachers, and administrators.
The Civic Engagement Workshop (CEW) in Lebanon was implemented in Beirut hosted by the American University of Beirut . Its participants included included seven Lebanese educators, alumni from previous UME Teacher Education Institutes, and four American educators selected from schools from diverse communities in New England. Dr. Anthony Wanis-St. John and Liz Gruenfeld provided instruction and facilitation.
The CEW was an intensive four-day cultural, intellectual and professional exchange among a selected group of Lebanese and US high school teachers to enhance their knowledge and skills of pedagogies for effective civic engagement. The curriculum focused specifically on education for conflict resolution, community building, and cross-cultural collaboration that ultimately fosters stronger civil society in both countries.
As with all UME programs, the CEW was designed to provide a supportive forum for participating high school teachers to explore, experiment with, and inquire into the nature and workings of civic engagement. Specifically, in light of the ethnic, religious and socio-economic diversity of Lebanon and the US, this intensive workshop sought to deepen participants’ appreciation for diversity and inclusivity, and to strengthen their practical skills for applying these values professionally. As leaders in their communities, teachers can create participatory learning spaces through civic engagement projects aimed at addressing these issues.
The Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon CEWs were primarily funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the United States Department of State.