top of page

Research at the Institute

       Through Taghyeer, a non-profit organization based in Jordan, the Institute conducts collaborative research in the humanities and social sciences. Projects range from education and curriculum reform to intellectual history and social theory. In what follows, you may learn more about our ongoing research; for an account of previous projects, please contact us at

Istijarah: Islam, Virtue Ethics, and Secondary Education

2021 - Present

Partner with the Templeton World Charity Foundation

Frameworks for fostering character virtue development have recently turned to indigenous methods and discourses, highlighting resources from a variety of rich traditions in the Global South. As a result, a more locally sensitive and effective set of programs have emerged, which depend on the organic and inherited means of coping with crisis rather than on copying distant and particular Western frameworks. Advancing indigenous frameworks, moreover, has allowed emergent programs to offer their methods and discourses, their deeply humane and community-centered approaches, as active resources for the rest of the world. 

In light of migration challenges affecting students in the Arab world, Istijarah has developed a curriculum and pedagogy for public schools in Jordan based on Islamic virtue ethics, focusing on the civic duty textbook for ninth-grade students. Istijarah offers the language and practice needed to inwardly cultivate virtues while outwardly building community. The program has convened stakeholders in academia, government, and the NGO sector to shift the perspective on the Islamic resources for educational reform and character development. 


We are writing the first of two academic papers for a special issue of the Journal of Moral Education, under the title "Istijarah: On Islamic virtue ethics in public school education," having produced a policy report and a comprehensive curricular addendum for the public school textbook on civic duty.

Project Leads

Abdullah Awad, Rana Dajani, Sanabel Alfar

Rights for Time: Rethinking the temporal dimensions of humanitarian protection

2020 - 2024

Partners with the University of Birmingham and the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Funding Program

       Social scientific research geared toward humanitarian protection often engages with the direct and visibly urgent effects of crises. While invaluable in its own right, this type of engagement can undermine the importance of comprehending the ways in which protracted crises may have significant indirect and invisible effects over time. Indeed, such crises produce social and political conflicts, as well as obstacles to lasting peace, which go unnoticed if the short-term tools of policy are the primary lens through which research is conducted.

       Rights for Time works on case studies from around the world which offer alternatives to dominant conceptions of time in humanitarian protection. The studies range in methodology and geographic context, from innovative psychological accounts of time and trauma in the work of the Palestine Trauma Center to empirical research into the time of waiting for sexual assault victims in Kenya. Other studies pose historical and literary inquiries into how indigenous concepts and practices, which emerged organically over time, may replace the dominant lexicons of humanitarian organisations.

       What unites the studies is an urgent sense that foregrounding the temporal dimensions of humanitarian protection allows us to more carefully examine, challenge, and offer alternatives to the default understanding of time in social science and public policy. This may result in the development of synergies across geographic contexts, innovations in methodology, and thinking about compound harm - from colonial remnants and nationalism to environmental catastrophe - from a more expansive temporal vantage.


We have produced a book, in Arabic, about dominant and alternative conceptions of the term 'refugee' in Arab-Islamic history, hosted conferences and seminars, showcased findings in an art exhibition, and mentored case studies around the world as part of the Rights For Time network.

Project Leads

Abdullah Awad and Rana Dajani

Education, Justice, and Memory: On the History and Practice of Teaching Identity in Jordan

2022 - 2024

Partners with the University of Bristol and the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Funding Program

The Jordanian educational sector, and particularly public school curricula and teacher training programs, are in an especially dire state. The sector focuses almost exclusively on STEM subjects at the expense of the humanities and social sciences. This is compounded, even in STEM subjects, by a school and university culture which awards rote memorization and the application of imported methodologies instead of creative, critical, and reflective engagement with personal and national identity. As a result, Jordan has a surplus of educated professionals, while it imports foreign social scientists and humanitarians to work on social programming.

This project intervenes by building a program for training public school teachers about how minority identities may be taught through indigenous history, literature, and language; implementing the program over two seminars in Arabic, based on the project’s curriculum and pedagogy; hosting a conference in Amman about how teaching about the violent past may be incorporated into schools and other institutions of education, including universities, institutes, and language centers; and sharing the experience by publishing the teacher training manual itself, an academic paper, and a policy report.


We are preparing a book chapter, titled "Teaching the Humanities as a Mode of Reckoning with the Violent Past: A case from Jordan" for an edited volume to be published by Bristol University Press, having produced a policy report, arts exhibition, and a manual for teachers.

Project Leads

Abdullah Awad and Sanabel Alfar

bottom of page