The 2017 Annual Conference of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) was the largest conference to date, hosting over 400 delegates in the beautiful and vibrant city of Edinburgh. Thanks are particularly due to Andrew Marsham and Ebtihal Mahadeen from Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Edinburgh for providing the essential support to make this conference happen.
The theme, Movement and Migration in the Middle East, represents a timely reminder of the positive exchanges that have been going on for millennia for all the peoples of the region and far beyond. Jaako Hämeen-Antilla, Iraq professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the University of Edinburgh opened the conference with a look at views of classical Islamic culture in the light of pre-Islamic Persian sources, and Laurie Brand, the Robert Grandford Wright Professor of International Relations and Middle East Studies at the University of Southern California, looked at the influence of migrants and refugees on the making and unmaking of the Middle Eastern State. They and the wide range of over 400 presenters helped us to explore the value of movement in and around the region, across the centuries.