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The Officers of the Society are the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

In addition to the Officers of the Society, there are currently 10 members of Council. Council members are elected from among the membership for a period of three years, or co-opted. BRISMES is currently welcoming new Trustees for election in the coming months. The current officers are as follows:

President: Professor the Baroness Afshar OBE

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Haleh Afshar is emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of York and has been the Visiting Professor of Islamic Law at the Faculté Internationale de Droit Comparée at Strasbourg till 2016. She serves as a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords. Afshar was born and raised in Iran where she worked as a journalist and a civil servant. In 2005 she was awarded an OBE for services to equal opportunities. In 2009 she was made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Afshar has served as the Chair for the British Association of Middle Eastern Studies. She is a founding member and has chaired the Muslim Women’s Network UK and is currently its Honorary President. She has served as Deputy Chair of the British Council's Gender and Development Task Force and has served on the Advisory Group of the Cabinet Offices Women's Unit to work on raising gender awareness amongst civil servants who adjudicate on applications for asylum from women.
She has also served as a member of Nuffield Council on bioethics’ working group on ethics and Pharmacogenetics; on the Home Office’s Working Group on “engaging with women” and the Home Office’s Preventing Extremism Together (PET) Working Group. She served as a Commissioner on the Women’s National Commission. In 2005 she was the leading academic advisor on designing and developing the proposal for the funding application by the WNC to the Home Office for the ‘Listening to Muslims Women’ project’. Afshar served as the Chair and Facilitator for the ensuing year long consultation with Muslim women in the UK. In 2005 she was invited to act as one of the judges in the jury panel at the World Tribunal on Iraq the session on “Media Wrongs against Truth and Humanity” held in Rome. In 2007-09 she was a member of Hazel Blears’ Academics and Theologians Roundtable. In 2011 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Exeter and in 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of York St. John and the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies’ Annual Award for Services to Middle East Studies. In the same year she was invited to give the Middle East Studies Society’s Annual Lecture.

Afshar is a Patron of:
National Coalition Building Institute (Diversity Hub); Solace ; Women and Children First; Refugee Action York; the Yorkshire Kidney research fund; the Haven Project (Hull); Women and Children First; United Nations’ Association’s International Services.

She has served as a Member of the Advisory Group for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation research project on ‘Muslims and Community Cohesion in Britain’ and is a Member of the Democracy and Islam Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Democracy University of Westminster. In 2003-4 she served on the advisory group to aid the development of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) programme brief on ethnicity. In 2005 she was appointed to Chair of the Communication Committee of the British Muslim Research Centre. In 2005-6 she served on the advisory group the AHRC and ESRC to take forward the development of a joint research programme tackling the issues of religion, belief and society. In 2006 she served a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Working Group on religion and ethnicity. In the same year she was invited to serve as a Commissioner on UK Drug Policy Commission. Since 2014 she has served on the governing body of York St. John University.  Afshar has written two and co-authored/edited/co-edited 15 books on questions relating to women and development; Islam and Iran.

Vice President: Nicola Pratt

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 Nicola Pratt is a Reader in the International Politics of the Middle East in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Before entering the world of academia, Nicola lived and worked in Egypt for several years on projects concerning human rights and democratisation. She speaks Arabic. Her research and teaching interests are located at the intersections between the politics of the Middle East and feminist international relations theory. Her research is particularly focused on the ways in which ‘ordinary people’ are shaped by and also influence national and international politics—particularly, democratization, peace and security. I have researched and written on democratization, human rights and conflict in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Since 2016, I have lead a research project on 'Politics and Popular Culture in Egypt: Contested Narratives of the 25 January 2011 Uprising and its Aftermath'.

Nicola's research interests link to her activism in the international peace/anti-war movement. She is a regular speaker at various meetings of social movement/voluntary groups. Between 2010 and 2013, she was the co-director of an international research partnership between Warwick and Birzeit University, Palestine, entitled, 'Reconceptualising Gender: Transnational Perspectives'. She is a contributor to the e-zine and was also Associate Editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies for 6 years. In 2015, she was elected to the Committee of the Council for British Research in the Levant.

Treasurer: Mehmet Asutay







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. 

Secretary: John Chalcraft

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John Chalcraft is Professor of Middle History and Politics in the Department of Government at LSE. He was a Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Edinburgh University during 2000-05, and held a Junior Research Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from 1999-2000. 

His research focuses on histories of popular protest, low-skilled labour migration, survivalist enterprise, and labour, with special reference to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, and increasingly to the GCC countries and North Africa. He is currently working on Gramscian and transnational approaches to resistance and popular mobilisation. He directs the Social Movements and Popular Mobilisation in the MENA Research Network at LSE and has served on the Council for British Research on the Levant, as Reviews Editor for the Journal of Global History, as Treasurer of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, and as a court expert in a number of international cases. 

Council Members:


Tim Jacoby
University of Manchester


ElMustapha Lahlali
University of Leeds

Maria Marsh

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

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Lloyd Ridgeon
University of Glasgow

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Alam Saleh

 Afshin Shahi Photo

Afshin Shahi
University of Bradford


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


Andrea Teti
University of Aberdeen


Zahra Tizro
University of East London

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James Dickins
University of Leeds