top of page


Wazir Khan Mosque in Reflection, a painting by Samira Quraeshi, courtesy of Samira Quraeshi

Applications for the 2021 Institute are now closed

NEH Summer Institutes allow K-12 educators an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their teaching through the study of humanities topics that bear upon K-12 education. Participants, or “Summer Scholars” will receive a certificate upon completion of the program, but programs are not intended to duplicate graduate-level courses. Each institute provides Summer Scholars the opportunity to study a humanities topic with a team of experienced scholars and from a range of perspectives. Project leaders and participants mutually explore connections between scholarship and teaching, and some time is provided for participants to work on individual or collaborative projects.

To apply, please first review the eligibility requirements and expectations of the program below, and then click the Apply Now button at the bottom of the page.

  • Eligibility
    As an NEH Summer Institute, A Reverence for Words: Understanding Muslim Cultures through the Arts is designed principally for full-time and part-time classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. While open to all classroom teachers, we most recommend this institute for educators at the middle and high school level, and primarily for teachers of world history and global studies, English language arts, humanities, creative writing, social studies, religion, visual arts, and music. Other school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are also eligible to participate. Our institute allows 30 participants, or Summer Scholars. Please note that five institute spaces may be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or less). First consideration is given to those who have not previously attended an NEH Seminar or Institute. When choices must be made between equally qualified candidates, preference is given to those who would enhance the diversity of the program. In any given year, an individual may apply to a maximum of two Seminars or Institutes, but may attend only one. Applications are open to teachers at schools anywhere in the United States or its territories or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50% of the students are American nationals. We encourage applicants with varying degrees of familiarity with the content. You may have no prior knowledge of arts from Muslim cultures or bring a wealth of professional, academic, or personal, lived experience to the topic. We welcome you all.
  • Stipends & Expectations
    Participants, or Summer Scholars, are offered a stipend for participation in the project. The stipend is intended to help cover related expenses. Even in a virtual format, we understand you may incur costs related to basic academic expenses, equipment or childcare or foregone work opportunities. Stipends are determined according to the duration of the Institute. As a two-weeklong institute, A Reverence for Words offers a stipend of $2,200. Stipends will be distributed in two installments, half during the first week and half during the second week of the institute. As a selected Summer Scholar, it is expected that you will: - Attend all meetings and engage fully as professionals in the work of the project. During the project, participants may not undertake teaching assignments or professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Those who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project will receive a reduced stipend. - Submit an evaluation at the end of the project's residential period. -Have access to a good working internet connection throughout the institute. We will engage in a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning. We anticipate using Zoom for our daily meetings, seminars, and workshops. We will use other digital platforms for continuing conversations and fostering collegial and collaborative culture among Scholars. -Complete all required readings and assignments and be prepared to engage fully in large and small group work. At the conclusion of the Institute, each Summer Scholar will submit a final project: a lesson or series of lessons based on the content of the Institute. Project Directors will hold office hours and at least two formal conferences with each Scholar to discuss their final projects. Summer Scholars will be given time during the Institute to work on and complete their final projects. At the end of the institute, NEH Summer Scholars are expected to submit online evaluations of the institute.
  • Credit
    Educators are often interested in earning in-service credit through participation in summer programs. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer credit for participation. Summer Scholars will receive a certificate of completion from the NEH.
  • Selection
    A selection committee, comprised of the project co-directors, two colleagues, an Institute alum who is an active teacher, and a former student of an alum will evaluate all complete applications to select a group of Summer Scholars and to identify alternates. Our selection criteria include: - The applicant’s effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator; - The applicant’s intellectual interests as they relate to the topic of the institute; - The applicant’s perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program; - Evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on the applicant’s teaching; - Plus special qualifications, such as personal experience, foreign language proficiency, that pertain to your project
  • Equal Opportunity Statement
    Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202-606-8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).

For the complete NEH eligibility criteria, please click HERE.

Applications for the 2021 Institute are now closed

Application Guidelines & Submission

Applications will be accepted online through our online submission system starting on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. We will post the link on that day. We are not able to accept mail-in applications. Applications will close on Monday, March 1, 2021 midnight PST. 


The online application consists of a series questions or requested uploads, including:

  • Basic biographical information, including subjects taught and years of teaching experience

  • A professional résumé or curriculum vitae (as an uploaded file)

  • Contact information for 3 professional references (as an uploaded file)

  • Short essay questions addressing the following: 

    • Your effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;

    • Your intellectual interests as they relate to the topic of the institute;

    • Your special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program; and

    • Evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on your teaching.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020: Application process opens online. 


Monday, March 1, 2021: Completed applications due. You are welcome to submit before then.


Friday, March 26, 2021: All applicants will be notified about the status of their applications.

Friday, April 2, 2021: All accepted applicants must accept or decline their offer.

If you have any questions about the application process, please email:

Applications for the 2021 Institute are now closed

bottom of page