Antique Map

Blank map of MENA (image)

Click here for a blank map of MENA,  from BYU

Fact Sheet on Palestine Geography

Facts and figures related to Palestinian geography.

Geography Strikes Back

This article from the Wall Street Journal explains the impact of geography on current world conflicts.

Geography: A Collection of Articles from Teach Mideast

A collection of articles about geography of the Middle East. From Teach Mideast


Irancarto is a scientific research website devoted to cartographic studies on Iran and the Iranian world current or past: society, demography, economics, politics, culture, history, language, arts, cities, countryside.

Israel & the Palestinians: Key Maps

BBC gives interactive maps on Israel and Palestine.

Palestinian Territories

The state department offers key facts and maps about the area.

Unrest in the Arab World: An Interactive Map

When Mohammed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor, set himself on fire in December 2010, he also lit the fuse for an uprising that has spread across much of the Arab world. Click on the countries to see the roots of their unrest and where they stand today.

Water: Teaching about the World’s Most Valuable Resource


Where is the Middle East?

This slide show from the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations uses maps to illustrate the lack of consensus among governments, international organizations, and scholars regarding how to define the Middle East or even whether to use that term. The instability of the concept “Middle East” points to the need to break down traditional area studies barriers.

You can also view this 8 minute screencast introducing the changing definitions and borders of the Middle East.

Al-Monitor (news source)

Al-Monitor is a new media website providing original reporting and analysis by prominent journalists and experts from the Middle East and offering in-depth analysis through its Iran,  IraqIsraelLebanonPalestine and Turkey “Pulses.”

Blank map of MENA (image)

Click here for a blank map of MENA,  from BYU

Distribution of Religious Groups Across Lebanon (images)

This map shows the distribution of religious groups across Lebanon including Sunni, Shiites, Christians, Muslims and others.

Is Peace Possible? In Interactive Map (multimedia)

The Interactive Map is an addition to the “Is Peace Possible?” – a multi-platform project developed by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, SAYA/Design for Change, and The Atlantic on the opportunities and challenges of reaching a comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The initial project is organized around four core issues of the conflict: Borders, Security, Refugees, and Jerusalem – presented on a unique website platform – containing animated and narrated presentation videos for each issue.

Middle East and Islamic History in Maps (images)

A collection of maps posted by Dr. Steve Tamari at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Maps of Iran from PBS (images)

Maps of Iran from PBS

Arab Culture through Literature and Film

Arab Culture through Literature and Film is a five unit high school curriculum that provides students with knowledge and tools to analyze and understand the Arab world. The materials utilize a student-centered pedagogical approach that promotes critical thinking and respect and encourages engaged global citizenship. Through this curriculum, students will recognize shared themes across the region and gain a sense of the rich diversity inherent to the multidimensional cultures of the Arab world. Students will study life and culture in the Arab world and engage with primary sources including films, short stories, and poems. Exposing students to Arab voices and putting human faces on the Arab world will increase understanding and tolerance in the American classroom.

Blank map of MENA (image)

Click here for a blank map of MENA,  from BYU

Explorers, Traders and Immigrants: Tracking the Cultural and Social Effects of the Global Commodity Trade

This unit examines eight global commodities from their points of origin and the social, cultural, political, and economic changes they have wrought along their way. Each case study encompasses four “stops” along the commodity’s journey: its initial discovery and/or access; its progress from local good to international trade; the ramifications of large-scale production; and the drama of its boom-and-bust cycles through the years.

Developed by the University of Texas at Austin.

psu logo edited Geography of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

Through this 50 minute lesson, students learn the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, where they lie on the map and how that might impact the citizens.

Kurds: People Without a Country, a lesson plan by Lisa Adeli.

The lesson teaches the history and geography of the Kurds through an opening presentation and a short research assignment.
Supplementary materials:

psu logo edited Mapping Middle East & Northern Africa Countries

This lesson serves to introduce students to the physical and political background of the Middle East and North Africa.  This lesson can stand alone or be used as a first lesson in a unit about the region

Developed by Karen Brush and Gloria Pagan as a part of the Middle East Studies Center 2013 Summer Institute: The Arab Uprisings


Measuring the Travels of Two Adventurers: Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta

Students will learn about two medieval explorers, the Venetian Marco Polo, and theMoroccan Ibn
Battuta, and how their travels affected Asian trade and migration. Students will use maps of their travels
to compare and estimate distances covered by Polo and Battuta.  Developed by Cheryl Wiens and published by the Center for Middle East Studies at University of Arizona.

Middle East and North Africa Geography

This lesson plan gives students an overview of the region’s geographical past, while exposing students to the complexity and diversity of the region. It also ensures a basic geographical starting point for any unit plan about the region, or for any mini-unit delving into Middle Eastern current affairs.  Published by PBS

Middle East Map Game

This fun and interactive map game has students place countries of the Middle East and North Africa on a map.

psu logo edited  Migration of the Turks

In this lesson students will map Turkic migration.  Students will use Google Maps Engine, the Library of Congress’ Country Studies and self-selected web resources to discover, map and self-check their map of the historical Turkic migration.  This lesson will take two 55 minute class periods.

Oil and Water in the Middle East Region

In this lesson, students will explore the roles of oil and water in the Middle East, especially in Iraq. Students will use maps to look at the distribution of oil in the Middle East and discuss what it means for the different countries in the region. They will also examine how water has influenced the region historically (in the “fertile crescent” region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) and politically (for example, how Iraq’s access to water is limited to one small part of its border). Finally, they will study specific aspects of Iraq’s struggles with water, using satellite imagery to understand and illustrate the problem.

Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean

This collection of 6 teaching modules features resources for teaching about the role of the Mediterranean as a commercial and cultural ecosystem in past eras, as well as lesson materials on the present and prospects for the future. Given the unique geography of the transitions currently underway in the Middle East (several geographically contiguous North African states) and the likelihood that interactions between Europe, northern Africa, Turkey, and the Arab world will constitute a vitally important sub-region of globalization going forward, new cross-Mediterranean tendrils of economic and civil society connectivity will be necessary to help anchor these transitions.

Physical Geography of Iran

A study guide for Iran’s geography.

Sailing the Great Sand Sea

In this unit, students will understand the ways in which North African traders were able to adapt to the harsh environment of the Sahara desert in order to extract natural resources and engage in trans-desert trade for economic gain. They will understand: (1) the factors that define a desert and the different types of deserts; (2) that the introduction of the camel to North Africa provided a solution that made trans-Saharan trade possible; and (3) the natural resources available in the desert and the advantages to be had from harnessing them.

Content developed by the University of Texas at Austin

Slavery in Ottoman Egypt

By the 19th century, slavery was a well-known and well-defined institution in the Egypt, at that time a province of the Ottoman Empire. For most of the 19th century, the slave population of Egypt was between 20,000 and 30,000 out of a total population of five million. The number of slaves in Cairo, a city of a quarter-million people, was estimated to be between 12,000 and 15,000 at any given point until 1877. Yet, slavery in Egypt took on quite a different form than it did in the Americas. Learn more about slavery in an Islamic emirate.

Developed by the University of Texas at Austin

Slavery in the Swahili Emirates of East Africa

In 1828 Sultan Seyyed Said of Oman moved his court from Muscat in Arabia to the island of Zanzibar (in present day Tanzania) in order to establish a royal monopoly on clove production. Zanzibari society was Swahili and Muslim, which provided a rigid social and legal framework for the slave trade and the practice of slavery locally. Slaves have certain legal rights under Islamic law that their counterparts elsewhere did not enjoy. However, the constrictions of society and demands of the booming Zanzibari economy in the mid-19th century meant that the laws were neither evenly applied nor always followed. Learn more about the practice of slavery in Africa itself, and how the institution managed to persevere into the 20th century.

Developed by the University of Texas at Austin

TeachMideast: Tunisia

Basic background info on Tunisia.

The Aswan High Dam in Egypt

Students will understand that: (1) the construction of the Aswan High Dam has had both positive and negative effects on the physical environment in Egypt; (2) the construction of the Aswan High Dam has both been an example of humans changing the environment in order to meet their needs and an example of the geography adapting itself in return; and (3) the issues involved in sharing and allocating water resources between nations and the variety of strains put on available water resources are complex.

Resource developed by the University of Texas at Austin.

The Palestinians “Right of Return” 

One of the most difficult issues that Israelis and Palestinians must solve in order to work out a peace agreement is the issue of the Palestinian “right of return.” When the state of Israel was declared in 1947, a war broke out between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Many of the Arab residents who lived in what became Israel fled their homes. Many more fled during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. Now, many Palestinians are asking for the right to return to their homes in what is now Israel proper. This is an issue that is very emotional for people on both sides of this conflict. Students will consider the reasons for and against the Palestinian ‘right of return.’

A lesson from the Understanding Migration Curriculum Resources for the Classroom Unit Plan from the University of Texas at Austin.

The Southeastern Anatolia Project

This case study was created to help students understand the complexities of large-scale construction and development projects. Such projects often inspire an optimistic outlook; students will get a better sense of the many different benefits that such projects can have and the ways in which the quality of living can be dramatically improved. At the same time, students will gain an understanding that such projects have side effects, both positive and negative, that can extend across geo-political boundaries.

Developed by the University of Texas at Austin

World War I in the Middle East- Museum Research Project

Students work in pairs or small groups to create a project that becomes part of a ‘museum’, either a physical exhibit or an online one, to share with other classes, their families and the community.

Lesson Plan
Overview of World War I in the Middle East
List of Projects
Assignment for Students
List of Resources
Museum Viewers’ Assignment

Materials produced by Lisa Adeli, Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona.