Middle East Studies Institute (MEI)
The Middle East Institute (MEI) at Columbia University, founded in 1954, promotes the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and North Africa together with associated regions of Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and related global communities. Drawing on the expertise of faculty and the interests of students located across the many academic departments and specialized schools of the university, the Institute’s activities focus on the advancement of academic knowledge and the enhancement of public understanding.
The Middle East Institute is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Middle East National Resource Center, and it offers interdisciplinary Masters Degree Programs in Islamic Studies.
The central mission of the MEI, in accord with its long-established institutional duties and responsibilities, is to foster an interdisciplinary and inter-departmental approach to enhancing Columbia’s world-class Middle East program. The Institute works to strengthen and broaden the curriculum by supporting courses to supplement departmental offerings, and it provides a vibrant forum for faculty and students to work together across the different disciplines through workshops, lectures, conferences, and social events. The institute administers governmental FLAS fellowships to students for language study and for research in the region and at home, and it advises students on courses, language programs, and career opportunities. Working to inform and educate the media, government, and the general public about the Middle East, the Institute also collaborates with other regional institutes and units of the university to advance knowledge about issues and processes that now transcend one region.
To complement its responsibilities in administering the Masters Degree Programs in Islamic Studies, the Institute organizes and mobilizes the capacity of the university in this venerable field. In pursuit of this role in support of Islamic Studies, the Institute moved beyond a restricted commitment to the Middle East and North Africa region, and beyond familiar departments and disciplines.
Each year, MEI produces an annual report highlighting our collective work and its impact. Please click below to download PDF versions of our reports.