About Us

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) was founded in 1954 for the purpose of furthering the study of the Middle East at Harvard University. This mandate features a primary emphasis on the centuries since the rise of Islam and a concern with the wider Islamic world. CMES serves Harvard as the coordinating body and the primary source of support for the various courses and academic programs that cover the vast region from Morocco and North Africa to Turkey and Iran.

The Center is home to key faculty related to Middle Eastern Studies including: the Arabic Program, Turkish Studies, the Moroccan Studies Program, several ongoing research projects, and a Visiting Scholar program that brings scholars from around the world. The range of interests of our faculty, students, associates and visiting scholars is rich, varied, and crosses multiple disciplines.

CMES programs and activities include:

  • An annual program of lectures and seminars on a wide range of topics. CMES seminar series include: Islam in the West, Seminar on Turkey in the Modern World, WCFIA/CMES Joint Seminar on Modern Middle East Politics, The Middle East Forum, and The Morocco Forum.
  • Scholarly workshops and conferences. Recent Workshops/Conferences include: “Comparative Occupations: Chechnya, Iraq and Palestine: Governing Zones of Emergency”, “Berbers and Others: Shifting Parameters of Ethnicity in the Contemporary Maghrib”, “Science, Technology and Medicine in the Modern Middle East”, and “The Socio-Economic Trajectory of Iraq: 1950 – Present”. Many of our workshop and conference proceedings are available online.
  • The Outreach Center, which houses a large lending library in addition to providing curriculum development for K-12 educators, and an array of workshops and seminars meant for a more general audience.