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.

MESA Strategic Plan 2021-2025

Vision Statement

The strength of MESA lies in its dual commitment to scholarship and advocacy. MESA fosters and disseminates inclusive scholarship, intellectual exchange beyond borders, and pedagogy about the Middle East and North Africa. MESA advocates for academic freedom. It is committed to supporting struggles against racism and anti-Blackness. It opposes anti-Muslim racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of discrimination based on gender and sexuality.


The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a private, non-profit learned society that brings together scholars, educators and those interested in the study of the region from all over the world. MESA is primarily concerned with the area encompassing Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, and the countries of the Arab World (and their diasporas) from the seventh century to modern times. Other regions, including Spain, Southeastern Europe, China and the former Soviet Union, also are included for the periods in which their territories were parts of the Middle Eastern empires or were under the influence of Middle Eastern civilization. From its inception in 1966 with 51 founding members, MESA has increased its membership to more than 2,800 and now serves as an umbrella organization for more than fifty institutional members and thirty-six affiliated organizations. The association is a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Council of Area Studies Associations, and a member of the National Humanities Alliance.

As part of its goal to advance learning, facilitate communication and promote cooperation, MESA sponsors an annual meeting that is a leading international forum for scholarship, intellectual exchange, and pedagogical innovation. It is responsible for the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the premiere journal on the region, the MESA Review of Middle East Studies and a biannual newsletter. An awards program recognizes scholarly achievement, service to the profession, and exemplary student mentoring. MESA is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors elected by the membership.

Strategic Plan

MESA has adopted a strategic plan for 2021-2025.

Privacy Policy

MESA’s privacy policy governs the manner in which MESA collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users of the mesana.org website and the myMESA membership portal.  

Policy on public statements and media appearances

MESA has adopted a spokesperson policy on the authority to represent or speak on behalf of the association.

Guidelines Governing Donations and Solicitation of Gifts

MESA has adopted guidelines that govern how it receives donations and/or solicits gifts.

Photo Credits

Our thanks to Richard Doughty, AramcoWorld and Jonathan Bloom, Boston College for permitting MESA to use their beautiful photos of mosaics as banner images on the MESA website.

Stay Connected

MESA offers several ways to stay connected: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, as well as listservs and trusty email notifications. To find out more, please follow the link below.

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