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Officers of the Society are the President, Vice-President, Executive Director and Treasurer.

As well as officers of the Society, there are currently 16 members of Council. Council members are elected from among the Fellows for a period of three years, or co-opted. The current officers are as follows:

stuart1President: Stuart Laing

After reading Classics at Cambridge, Stuart Laing had a first career in the British diplomatic service. After Arabic language study in Lebanon, he specialised in Arab and Middle Eastern affairs, serving in Saudi Arabia early in his career, and later in Cairo. He was Deputy Ambassador in Prague and then Riyadh, and was appointed High Commissioner to Brunei (1998-2002), Ambassador to Muscat (2002-05), and Ambassador to Kuwait (2005-08). He has been Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, since October 2008.

In addition to his duties as Master, he researches and writes on Arab and East African history. He took an MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in Cambridge in 2012, and has published, jointly with Robert Alston, “Unshook till the end of time”, a book on the history of Britain’s relationship with Oman. This year he has completed a biography of the Arab ivory and slave trader, Tippu Tip, to be published in October. From 2008 to 2016 he was a Trustee of the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT Education Trust), and chaired the Trust’s companies in Muscat and Abu Dhabi.  He is a keen amateur musician; he plays keyboard instruments and the oboe. His other recreations are desert travel, cycling, Real Tennis and hill-walking. His wife, Sibella, has been a University teacher and English Language teacher trainer while accompanying him on diplomatic service postings, and is now a Cambridge City Guide. They have three adult children.   

Mr Laing may be contacted via the Administrative Office.

Zahia SalhiVice President: Zahia Smail Salhi

Zahia Smail Salhi received her doctorate from the University of Exeter. She taught at the University of Leeds from 1998 to 2012. In January 2013 she joined the University of Manchester as Chair of Modern Arabic Studies.

She served as Member of Sub-panel 27 (Area Studies), Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) (2013-2014).

She held the position of Co-director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW) from 2013-2016 and led the CASAW research network on Women, Empowerment, Citizenship and Development.

Currently, she is a co-editor of the The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and served as its book reviews editor from 2000-2008. She is a member of the editorial committee of Women Studies International Forum, The International Journal of Francophone Studies and The Journal of Middle Eastern Journal of Culture and Communication.  She is member of the World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), and serves as a member of its International Advisory Council.  In the field of Arabic literature she served as a Member of the Committee of judges of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, 2012-2013, and a Member of the Committee of judges of the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, 2016.

sbobExecutive Director: Robert Lowe

Robert Lowe is the Deputy Director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics. His main research interest is Kurdish politics with particular focus on Syria. Previously, Robert was Manager and Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House. 


mehmet This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mehmet teaches and supervises research on Islamic Political Economy, Islamic Banking and Finance, Political Economy of Middle East, Middle East Economy, Turkish Political Economy, Kurdish Political Economy at the University of Durham. He is the Programme Director for MA/MSc in Islamic Finance. 


Council Members:

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John Chalcraft
London School of Economics and Political Science

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James Dickins
University of Leeds

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Aula Hariri
Middle East Centre, LSE


Tim Jacoby
University of Manchester

hilary kalmbach

Hilary Kalmbach
University of Sussex

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Hendrik Jan Kraetzschmar
University of Leeds

Maria Marsh

Maria Marsh
African & Middle Eastern studies commissioning editor at Cambridge University Press

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Noha Mellor
University of Bedfordshire

nicola pratt

Nicola Pratt
University of Warwick

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Lloyd Ridgeon
University of Glasgow

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Alam Saleh
Lancaster University


Mina Toksoz
Emerging markets and country risk Consultant 


Paul Starkey
former Head of Arabic, Durham University and Co-Director of CASAW


Yaniv Voller
University of Kent

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Annie Webster

Dr James Worrall

James Worrall
University of Leeds