Mission Statement

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a non-profit association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom in accordance with its status as a 501(c)(3) scientific, educational, literary, and charitable organization.

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Annual Meeting

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November 14-17, 2019
Sheraton New Orleans
new orleans, louisiana


Join us in November for MESA’s 53rd annual meeting in The Big Easy. Attendees will enjoy three days of academic panels, a bustling book bazaar, and a film festival screening the latest in documentary films on the Middle East.


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Academic Freedom

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The Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) seeks to foster the free exchange of knowledge as a human right and to inhibit infringements on that right by government restrictions on scholars. The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provide the principal standards by which human rights violations are identified today. Those rights include the right to education and work, freedom of movement and residence, and freedom of association and assembly.

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Become a Member

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Be a part of a community of scholars who are passionate about the pursuit of academic knowledge on the MENA region. Join others in helping MESA defend academic freedom and civil and human rights. Share your research at the annual meeting and submit articles for MESA’s journals. Participate on a MESA committee to help recognize outstanding scholarship or work to advance the field. Join MESA today and be a part of something great!

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Member Announcements

Vote for the 2019 Nominating Committee

Current Full members (Honorary Fellows, Fellows, and Students) are eligible to vote by the March 1, 2019 deadline. 

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MESA Board Statements issued at MESA 2018 in San Antonio

MESA Board Raises Concern about Deteriorating Security Conditions for Researchers in UAE
San Antonio, TX—November 15, 2018 Over the course of the past months, it has become unmistakably clear that the environment for the conduct of research in several countries of the MENA has changed, ...READ STATEMENT

MESA Board Affirms Commitment to Fight Antisemitism as Form of Racism
San Antonio, TX—November 15, 2018  Over the last two years MESA proudly partnered with HIAS, the International Refugee Assistant Project, and individual plaintiffs to challenge President Trump’s Muslim Ban. Represented by ACLU, our collective case went to the Supreme Court. We did not stop the ban; we succeeded at tempering it in our collective stance against all forms of racism and xenophobia. READ STATEMENT

2018 MESA Awards Recipients Announced 

Winners and honorees of the Academic Freedom Award, Jere Bacharach Service Award, Mentoring Award, Albert Hourani Book Award, Nikki Keddie Book Award, Fatima Mernissi Book Award, Malcolm Kerr Dissertation Awards, Student Paper Prize, and Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award were presented at the 2018 Awards Ceremony.

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CAF’s Resource Guide on Canary Mission

MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom has issued a resource guide for college and university leaders on actions they can take to counteract a secretive, political organization called Canary Mission that uses its website to engage in defamatory attacks against college students and faculty who engage in advocacy for Palestinian rights and academic inquiry about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Resource Guide

Follow MESA’s Work on the Muslim Travel Ban

When President Trump issued Executive Order 13769 (the first Muslim travel ban) on January 7, 2017, MESA and the ACLU began discussing ways in which MESA could be useful in a lawsuit against the ban. MESA ultimately joined as a plaintiff in IRAP v. Trump. Now in its third iteration, the Muslim travel ban continues to be challenged in court. A timeline of MESA's involvement with the lawsuit:

IRAP v. Trump


ATCA’s Effect on the Right to Education for Palestinian Students  

Letter to President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives expressing opposition to the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) of 2018, as it results in the denial of the right to education to Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a MEPI program. CAF calls on Congress and the President to cancel ATCA.

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PERMES Masthead

PERMES is a database of programs in Middle East studies, experts on the region, and other valuable resources. 


Stay Connected

MESA offers several ways to stay connected, including a young-people-approved presence on Facebook and Twitter, oldie but goodie listservs, and trusty email notifications. To find out more, please follow the link below.

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