The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America condemns the ongoing and intensified Iranian government repression of protests. Pursuant to our commitment to promoting high standards of scholarship and teaching as well as defending academic freedom and the right to education, the Board declares its support of Iranian students, teachers, and scholars who have been risking (and giving) their lives to peacefully protest their government’s policies. We express our solidarity with our Iranian colleagues in Iran and the world over.
Joint Statement from the Association for Iranian Studies and MESA in support of protests at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran
MESA and the Association for Iranian Studies have issued a joint statement in support of the peaceful protests by students and professors at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. We express our grave concern over the violations of the academic rights of university students and professors. We condemn in the strongest terms the systematic assaults on university campuses and communities. We call for a full and transparent investigation of these crimes, and information regarding the fates of those killed, injured, missing, and detained.
Statement in solidarity with the Iranian academics’ petition in response to the unfolding events in Iran
MESA has endorsed a statement by the Association for Iranian Studies and its Committee on Academic Freedom expressing solidarity with the Iranian academics who have signed a petition in response to the unfolding events in Iran. The petition stresses the right of Iranian women to freely choose their own dress code; calls for abolishing the morality police; and supports the protection of citizenship rights for all Iranians.
Statement on Discriminatory Treatment meted out to Africans, including Scholars and Students, fleeing the war in Ukraine
MESA has endorsed a statement from the African Studies Association condemning the discriminatory treatment of Africans fleeing Ukraine as a violation of international law. MESA joins the ASA and others in calling on Ukrainian and authorities in neighboring countries to treat all those fleeing the conflict equally, with dignity, and without discrimination based on race or status.
MESA joins 37 other associations in endorsing a statement by the American Historical Association historicizing and condemning the numerous bomb threats, received by at least 17 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in early 2022, as crimes against Black institutions of higher education and as threats to the Black community.
22 ACLS member organizations and 26 other associations or institutions of higher education join MESA, the American Institute for Afghanistan Studies, and Scholars at Risk in urging the Biden Administration to take immediate action to enable the safe and speedy relocation of Afghanistan’s students and scholars.
MESA has endorsed a statement from Academia for Equality concerning the designation by the Israeli defense minister of six Palestinian civil society organizations as "terrorist" groups.
The Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America calls for the cessation of state-directed cyber surveillance attacks against members of the academic community. Digital violence, such as hacking, is inimical to academic freedom and basic rights.
MESA has endorsed a statement by the American Historical Association condemning the harassment and intimidation of participants, organizers, and university sponsors of the virtual conference “Dismantling Global Hindutva: Multidisciplinary Perspectives.”
On 18 August 2021, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom and the Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) sent a joint letter to Professor Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, to express our concern about the proposed academic deal between the University of Cambridge and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to urge the University of Cambridge to reconsider the proposal.
MESA joins a letter amongst 61 NGOs to call on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to quash Ahmed Samir Santawy’s verdict.
MESA has endorsed a letter by the American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America stating “firm opposition” to legislation, introduced in at least 20 states, that would restrict the discussion of “divisive concepts” in public education institutions.
MESA’s Board of Directors condemns the ongoing Israeli government assault on the Palestinian people. It views the damaging and targeting of educational facilities and violence toward students and teachers as part of a systematic domination of Palestinians. We recognize there can be no academic freedom and adequate access to education, so long as there is apartheid.
MESA's Board of Directors calls on university administrators in Florida to support their faculty and speak out against the threat that a new bill poses to academic freedom and free speech rights of both faculty and students, as well as to proper governance and independence of Florida’s colleges and universities.
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.