The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), the leading professional membership association for scholars and students of the Middle East and North Africa, has relocated its DC headquarters to the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) in Georgetown University’s (GU) Walsh School of Foreign Service
MESA is a non-profit learned society that seeks to foster the study of the Middle East, promote high standards in scholarship and teaching in the field, and encourage public understanding of the region through programs, publications and education, according to its website.
“MESA is the preeminent association for Middle East studies,” said Fida Adely, CCAS Director. “Georgetown’s CCAS is an ideal fit as an institutional host, since we share common interests in scholarship, research, programming, and teaching on the broader MENA region, and we represent a similar interdisciplinary combination among our CCAS faculty.”
MESA’s principal work is its Annual Meeting, a conference that brings together about 2,000 scholars each fall. MESA also regularly convenes both Title VI National Resource Centers like CCAS along with directors of centers, programs, and departments of Middle East studies and related fields from across the continent.
“MESA is a pillar of the field, and a constant advocate for the best in scholarship and teaching, as well as the broader principles of academic freedom, with respect to both study and pedagogy,” said Aslı Bâli, MESA President and Yale Law Professor. “Georgetown is one of the premier institutions for Middle East Studies, thanks to its range of scholars across the university, who represent some of the leading members of MESA — not only, of course, in Arab Studies, which is a clear institutional strength, but also beyond, to encompass the study of the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa, as broadly defined as possible.”
“This is a dream match for MESA, and something of a homecoming for me as well,” said Jeffrey Reger, Executive Director of MESA. “We look forward to developing a close working relationship with our new colleagues at Georgetown, many of whom I know well from my years spent in the Intercultural Center, and others I look forward to meeting soon.”
Dr. Reger is a three-time graduate of Georgetown, with a BSFS as well as an MA and PhD in the modern Middle East from GU’s Department of History, where his dissertation was supervised by Professor Emerita Judith E. Tucker.
“Georgetown, both in DC and in Qatar, is not only where I was introduced to Middle East studies, but also where I first learned Arabic — and then my other regional languages — so I know firsthand the high-quality of both undergraduate and graduate instruction in many of the units across the university,” added Dr. Reger.
Dr. Reger is also joined by the MESA Secretariat Staff: Programs Manager Sara Palmer, Programs Associate Calliandra Hermanson, Programs Assistant Emily Taha, and Global Academy Program Manger Mimi Kirk.
Dr. Adely noted that the Center is delighted to welcome them, and also remarked on the strength of the Middle East Studies community and concentration of MESA members in the DC area. “MESA’s move to GU will offer new opportunities for collaboration, particularly given the frequency with which MESA holds its conference in Washington, in addition to expanding cooperation with the consortium of interested universities and research organizations in the area,” she said.