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BRISMES' mission is to sustain and promote world class research into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland across a wide range of disciplines (including languages, culture, history, contemporary politics and economics), to maintain the highest level of expertise provided by the institutions' professionals, and to secure a continuous and reliable flow of government funding in the United Kingdom consistent with achieving this aim.

Pursuing our overall mission, BRISMES:

  • Represents the interests of MENA region studies in dealings with UK Government, the Economic and Social Research Council and other public agencies;
  • Promotes research and cooperation in MENA and Islamic studies across the UK and internationally;
  • Sustains a pool of expertise which is highly valued by the public and private sector alike;
  • Builds and nurtures relations with corporate and other private sector bodies with an interest in the MENA region; and,
  • Maintains strong relations with London-based diplomats from across the region and more widely.


Founded in 1973, BRISMES is the UK's premier higher education umbrella organisation for MENA studies, embracing all the top universities in the UK to promote the study of all aspects of the region. Sponsorship, corporate and individual membership of BRISMES has long facilitated access and exposure to the best academics, emerging scholars and substantive research in the field.

This is, if anything, even more important in today's world than it has been historically. As recent and ongoing events across the region readily confirm, the MENA region remains one of the most complex and volatile parts of the world – as well as being of major strategic and economic importance to the United Kingdom. A better understanding of the dynamics and tensions underlying its political and economic situation is essential not only in its own right but also to the analysis and understanding of wider global questions.

As a direct result of these developments and the consequent increasing demand for expertise in the region, as well as the increase in the number of students pursuing MENA-related courses in UK universities, we are currently building on – and expanding – our core activities and areas of expertise, including:

  • Developing and overseeing scholarships and awards for outstanding graduate students – the Abdullah Mubarak Foundation and Barclays Capital are among our sponsors;
  • Redesigning and expanding our website to include an interactive database of academic expertise worldwide. Our aim is to offer a one-stop shop for access to other sites of interest, information on courses, job opportunities, new publications and forthcoming events;
  • Boosting the content and circulation of all our publications, including the highly renowned British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; and,
  • Expanding our existing range of international conferences, workshops and annual lectures to provide additional opportunities to network with experts in all relevant areas of study.