Letter from the Director

Letter from the Director

Founded in 1954, the Middle East Institute (MEI) supports Columbia University’s world-class programs on the Middle East and North Africa. As a federally funded National Resource Center, the MEI also serves to inform the media, government, and the general public about the region. Working across disciplines and departments, the Institute acts to strengthen the curriculum of university course offerings and to provide forums for faculty and students to work together in workshops, lectures, conferences, and social events. The MEI additionally advises students on courses, language programs, and career opportunities and administers federal Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to support language study and research by undergraduate and graduate students.  

In 2016-17, the MEI underwent a formal review by the university’s Academic Review Committee. This rigorous process started in the fall of 2016 with the preparation of the MEI’s Self-Study, which served as the basis for the visit, in February 2017, of an External Review Committee, composed of leading scholars in Middle East Studies. The process concluded with a comprehensive Final ARC Report prepared by three university faculty members appointed by the ARC committee, which was submitted in April 2017.

This Annual Report addresses the findings of the ARC review concerning the re-launched, MEI-administered Masters Program in Islamic Studies, and the MEI-affiliated Center for Palestine Studies (founded in 2010). It also offers an overview of MEI-supported programming in academic year 2016-17, and provides a summary of the Institute’s revitalized programs of federally-mandated outreach efforts.

For further information about the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, I encourage you to visit our new website: http://www.mei.columbia.edu/


Brinkley Messick
Professor of Anthropology
Director, Middle East Institute