MESA - Middle East Studies Association

Presidential Statement on 2014 Resolution

The motion proposed at the 2014 annual meeting regarding discussion of the academic boycott has passed by a vote of  to 561 to 152. That resolution urges "MESA program committees to organize discussions at MESA annual meetings, and the MESA Board of Directors to create opportunities over the course of the year that provide platforms for a sustained discussion of the academic boycott and foster careful consideration of an appropriate position for MESA to assume."

As president, I will work with this year's program committee so that it can act upon the resolution in accordance with its mandate.

For its part, the Board of Directors will discuss how to act upon the resolution; we have already had some informal discussions and I anticipate that I will be able to report more later in the spring.  

As the board discusses how best to facilitate membership discussion and deliberation, I will add a personal note, reaffirming the sentiments I expressed in my letter (Presidential Letter) last year: as a scholarly organization, I view MESA's task as facilitating dialogue among its members.  I view it as the leadership's task to devise mechanisms for members to be able to argue, learn, persuade, and be persuaded even on the most divisive and emotional issues in a respectful atmosphere free from intimidation.  I will brainstorm with colleagues about how to do so and report more later.

Nathan J. Brown
MESA President
Professor of Political Science
George Washington University


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