Past Projects

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies is proud to collaborate with domestic and international affiliates to develop learning experiences, research opportunities, and intercultural relationships with the Middle East.

A mountain top in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a geographically and geopolitically strategic country with a rich and ancient cultural civilization that has played a major role in the cultural and ideological development of almost all major religions. Afghanistan has been ravaged by war and turmoil for nearly 40 years. The destruction of the statues at Bamiyan by the Taliban became a subject of increasing international concern in the early 2000s, but this example is a small part of a long and devastating history of war and destruction throughout the country. The long turmoil of conquerors, dynasties, and war have left major damage and destruction to most historical buildings and cultural heritage sites, and many historical artifacts have been smuggled out of the country.

The US Department of State Cultural Heritage Center, in collaboration with the National Park Service Archaeology Program (NPS), initiated a program to help address the need to protect Afghanistan's cultural heritage. This program, the Afghanistan Cultural Heritage Education Program (ACHEP), has evolved since its inception in 2007. Currently implemented by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Arizona and the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Kabul University, this international outreach effort engages Afghanistan’s educators, students, and professionals in educational programs and activities. The hope is to support the preservation and protection of the country’s rich cultural heritage and to enhance Afghanistan’s capacity to protect heritage sites and better guard against looting and trafficking of antiquities.

Recently, ACHEP has focused on the development of online courses for students at Kabul University. In 2017, an introductory archaeology and anthropology course was co-delivered by instructors from the University of Arizona and Kabul University. Building on this model, a second course on illicit trafficking of antiquities and art was developed in 2018. This second course includes guest lecturers who are experts in the history of, documenting, and fighting trafficking and looting of cultural heritage.

ACHEP Team members, past and present: Principal Investigator, Dr Anne Betteridge (Director of CMES); Project Manager, Dr Julie Ellison-Speight (Assistant Director of CMES); Coordinator and Instructor, Dr Jodi Reeves Eyre; Kabul University Instructor, Jamaludin Shable; Kabul University Instructor, M. Hussain Ahmadzai; Graduate Assistant, Stephanie Martin; Video Editor, Sarah Azhar; Atifa Rawan; Dr Suzanne Bott; Dr R. Brooks Jeffery; Dr William P. O'Brien; and Dr Nancy N. Odegaard.

A 10-Day Trip through Bosnia-Herzegovina (with an optional 1-day extension) 

April 7-17 (or 18), 2019

(Organized by the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies, a Title VI, U.S. Department of Education-designated National Resource Center on the Middle East)

Would you like to travel to beautiful, fascinating Bosnia-Herzegovina (with a side trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia)? CMES is organizing a public trip, open to any adult interested in a fun and educational travel experience. You will be led by a Balkan historian and local guides, visit museums and historical sites (from Bogomil tombs to Ottoman monuments to sites from three major wars in the 20th century), explore cultural places (including a private viewing of the Sarajevo Haggadah and institutions of the region's 4 religious communities), visit places of local interest (a winery, the Croatian world heritage city of Dubrovnik), and lots more. You will also have the option of an additional day-trip to the Srebrenica genocide site/museum. You will stay in 4-star hotels, feast on the excellent local cuisine, have the opportunity to attend performances or participate in a cooking demonstration - all in a short period of time!       


Sunday, April 7 – Day 0


  • Catch flight from the U.S.

Monday, April 8 - Day 1


  • Arrive in Sarajevo
  • Time to settle in and then a brief overview of the city
  • Opening dinner
  • Overnight in Sarajevo

Tuesday, April 9 - Day 2


  • Walking tour of the city (site of assassination of Franz Ferdinand, variety of mosques, churches, synogogue, and other cultural sites)
  • Lunch
  • Free time in the afternoon - with options for further sightseeing 
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in Sarjevo

Wednesday, April 10 - Day 3


  • Visit the Yellow Fortress (great views)
  • Experience the Tunnel museum, a fascinating testimony to resistance during “the last war.”
  • Lunch in Vrelo Bosne, a nature park
  • Visit the Old Jewish Cemetery
  • Get a spectacular view of the city from the Avaz Twist tower.
  • Free time in the late afternoon.
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in Sarajevo

Thursday, April 11 - Day 4            

Travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia

  • Visit the National Museum of BiH to see the original Sarajevo Haggadah.
  • Visit the Jablanica Museum, a Partisan World War II site
  • Lunch in a fish restuarant along the river in Blagaj
  • Visit the Sufi "tekija" in scenic Blagaj
  • See the Bogomil necropolis in Stolac
  • Visit the Tvrdos Monastery in Trebinje
  • Arrive in Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage city, in the evening before dinner.
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in Dubrovnik.

Friday, April 12 - Day 5


  • City tour in the morning
  • Free time for leisure and exploring in the afternoon
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in Dubrovnik.

Saturday, April 13 - Day 6

Travel (short distance) to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina:

  • Stop off in Ston to see the 14th century walls
  • Take a quick photo safari of the delta of the Neretva river
  • Lunch
  • Stop off in Počitelj, a beautiful medieval town/fortress
  • Tour the lovely city of Mostar .
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in Mostar.

Sunday, April 14 - Day 7


  • Day trip to Herzegovina Wine Route
  • Visit Kravice Waterfall
  • Visit the Humac Monastery museum.
  • Lunch and visit one of the wineries
  • Ethno Villiage Herceg
  • Medjugorje
  • Return to Mostar
  • Dinner
  • Overnight in Mostar

Monday, April 15 - Day 8

Return to Sarajevo

  • Drive from Mostar to Sarajevo
  • Stop en route to visit Konjic (Ottoman bridge, Tito's nuclear tunnel museum) 
  • Lunch
  • Free afternoon in Sarajevo
  • Dinner
  • Visit National Theatre Sarajevo
  • Overnight in Sarajevo

Tuesday, April 16 - Day 9

Sarajevo - Day trip to Vlasic and Travnik

  • Visit Kraljeva Sutjeska Monastery
  • Go to Mt. Vlasic- lunch in the Ethno house there and a cooking class
  • Stop in Travnik to visit the Ivo Andric house/museum
  • Dinner in Sarajevo
  • Overnight in Sarajevo

Wednesday, April 17 - Day 10


  • Free day (many possible activities/sites)
  • Closing dinner
  • Overnight in Sarajevo

Thursday, April 18 - Leave-Taking - transfer to the airport - OR (Optional) Day 11/Trip to the Srebrenica Genocide Site on Apr. 18, leaving Friday, April 19