The MESA Board of Directors is heartbroken by the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives over the last week. There can be no justification for the targeting of civilians. We join our members directly affected in grief, and we join all who are committed to a political solution that offers safety, dignity, and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis. We are deeply concerned about the cumulative effect of the Israeli siege and bombardment of Gaza, resulting in massive death, displacement and destruction — including the bombing of schools and universities — imperiling, among many other things, the possibility of access to education for generations of Gazan students indefinitely. We also reaffirm the right and ability of students, faculty, and staff at universities across North America (and elsewhere) to express their viewpoints free of harassment, intimidation, and threats to their livelihoods and safety. MESA calls on university leaders and administrations to oppose all forms of discrimination, including anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism and anti-Semitism, and to affirmatively assert and protect the right to academic freedom and freedom of speech on their campuses.
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 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.
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.