MESA pledges to oppose anti-Black racist violence by addressing the structural injustice at work in our own organization, in the field of Middle East studies, and among communities in the region. Guided by the principles articulated here, we commit to eradicating anti-Blackness in our organization and in the knowledge we produce.
Letters and Statements from the Board
MESA Board Statement regarding the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism (and “Contemporary Examples”)
MESA expresses its grave concern about a number of the “Contemporary Examples of Antisemitism” that accompany the working definition of antisemitism formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). MESA therefore encourages the federal, state, provincial, and local governments of the United States and Canada, as well as university and college administrations, to refrain from adopting or making policy based on IHRA's accompanying examples.
MESA joins a letter with 15 NGOs, led by Reporters Without Borders and Free Press Unlimited, to Josep Borrell and Eamon Gilmore of the European Union concerning the case of the Moroccan historian and journalist Maâti Monjib, which MESA's Committee on Academic Freedom (MENA wing) has followed with growing urgency.
MESA has endorsed a letter by the American Council of Learned Societies strongly encouraging Iowa lawmakers to vote against bills which would remove tenure for faculty at Iowa's public universities.
The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America condemns the ongoing and intensified government assault on higher education in Turkey. As a scholarly association, MESA declares its solidarity with student and faculty protestors of the recent developments at Boğaziçi University. We join our voices to the demands raised by faculty and students: academic freedom, freedom of expression, and academic and democratic norms must be respected; and the autonomy of higher education in Turkey must be protected.
MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Council of Learned Societies urging the Kansas Board of Regents to withdraw its endorsement of a proposed policy to suspend, dismiss, or terminate employees, including tenured faculty members, without formally declaring a financial emergency.
MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Historical Association condemning the report of the President's Advisory 1776 Commission, which attacks American institutions of higher education without evidence or cause. The 1776 Report omits or criticizes half a century of historical scholarship in favor of extolling a simplistic and tendentious interpretation of our past.
MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Philosophical Association concerning the threats to academic freedom posed by the Executive Order of September 22, 2020, which seeks to ban recipients of federal funding from instituting workplace training touching on what the order terms “divisive concepts” involving race.
MESA’s Board of Directors calls on university administrators to robustly defend the academic freedom of their faculty, students, and staff within Zoom and other corporate-controlled virtual meeting platforms.
ACLS Joint Statement: COVID-19 and the Key Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences in the United States
MESA has signed a statement on behalf of the humanities and social sciences in institutions of American higher education, coordinated in conjunction with the American Council of Learned Societies, attesting to the importance of study and research at this critical moment of crises.
Letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Concerning Its Decision to End Visa Exemptions for International Students
MESA has cosigned the letter from the MLA and other ACLS constituents to ICE concerning the revocation of temporary visa exemptions for international students and faculty members for the upcoming academic year.
MESA has endorsed the Middle East Librarians Association Statement on Collection Development, Access, and Equity in the time of COVID-19 issued June 22, 2020. The statement concerns the preservation of funding allocations for acquiring materials from the region and other related issues.
MESA has cosigned the American Philosophical Association statement regarding xenophobia, discrimination, and racism, including acts of violence, against Asians and Asian Americans.
MESA has cosigned the American Sociological Association's statement asking institutions of higher education to be flexible with requirements and policies for students. We as scholarly societies encourage colleges and universities to offer all appropriate accommodations to students, given the uncertainty and stress caused by the unparalleled disruptions to our educational community.
MESA calls on academic institutions to protect both the labor rights and the academic freedom of students and scholars of the Middle East, particularly the most vulnerable among us, during the great uncertainty and new dangers caused by the lockdown and the shift to online teaching. Institutes of higher education need to develop policies that prioritize the intellectual rights and the internet security of faculty and students.
MESA has cosigned MLA's statement regarding academic labor and COVID-19, urging flexibility and empathy among faculty, students, and staff at institutions of higher education, including not only material support but also ethical imagination and commitment from academic institutes to both the individual and shared challenges facing our communities during this unprecedented pandemic.
Review and Reappointment Processes For Tenure Line and Contingent Faculty During the COVID-19 Crisis
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), in collaboration with scholarly societies led by the American Sociological Association (ASA), commends institutions of higher education for quickly taking steps to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and encourages all universities and colleges to consider appropriate temporary adjustments to their review and reappointment processes for tenure line and contingent faculty.
The Board of Directors has issued an open letter to Durham University regarding the Vice Chancellor's decision to withdraw administrative services from the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), following the society’s vote on a resolution in favor of supporting the academic boycott of Israel last year. MESA is gravely concerned over the implications for academic freedom and freedom of expression over controversial issues — not only for our colleagues engaged in Middle East studies in Britain, but also for British academia more broadly.
MESA joins 16 other associations from across the globe in concern for the recent policy changes by the Secrétariat général de la défense et de la sécurité nationale (SGDSN), imposing limitations on access to documents from 1940 to present, which includes all those held at the French Ministry of Defense Archives at Vincennes, and the possible extension to other archives with previously classified documents.
The Middle East Studies Association is joined by seven fellow associations of the American Council of Learned Societies in deep concern over the continued politicization of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the threat that its ongoing investigations into New York University and the University of California, Los Angeles represents to academic freedom. Political speech is and must remain constitutionally protected in the United States, and should not be conflated with bigotry for partisan political purposes. We condemn racism in all forms, and oppose in the strongest possible terms any form of discrimination against or harassment of Jewish students. The government's instrumentalization and abuse of the issue of anti-Semitism is an unwelcome intrusion at our institutions of higher education, intending to intimidate faculty and police political debates on campuses.
MESA signs open letter by SAH in opposition to proposed EO “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again”
MESA joins SAH statement as a signatory with other concerned academic associations following the proposed Executive Order regarding design and structure of federal buildings.
MESA signs joint letter from the AAA opposing American presidential threats to commit war crimes by targeting cultural sites in Iran
MESA joins AAA statement "Targeting Cultural Sites is a War Crime" as a signatory with other concerned academic associations following recent presidential threats to Iran.