BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom

The BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom was set up to monitor and defend academic freedom in the research, study and teaching of Middle East Studies in the UK and anywhere in the world, including in academic institutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

To learn more about how the committee works, please see the Terms of Reference.

Latest Letter

On 6 April, the BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet to protest against Israeli violations of Palestinian academic freedom and to call on the Prime Minister to cancel the recently announced “Procedure for Entry and Residency of Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Region”, which will take effect from May 2022, and which will grant the Israeli military authorities absolute powers to determine the numbers and fields of expertise of international academics and students who may be present at Palestinian universities in the West Bank.

Previous Letters


  • Letter to Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor University of Manchester, to express our concerns about the University’s treatment of Alistair Hudson, Director, Whitworth Art Gallery (WAG) - 8 March 2022
  • Letter to Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University regarding the investigation of Shahd Abusalama and cancellation of the class she was scheduled to teach - 25 January 2022


  • Letter to the UK Home Secretary to express our concern about statements made by the Home Secretary following LSE student protests against the Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely - 16 November 2021
  • Report on meeting between BRISMES Committee on Academic Freedom and the Minister for Universities, Michelle Donelan, and Baroness Barran, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education, in follow-up to our correspondence with the Minister regarding the IHRA working definition of antisemitism - 28 October 2021


  • Letter to Egyptian President regarding the arrest and detention of Dr Ahmed Tohamy and the continued detention of Mr Patrick George Zaki.
    - 29 November 2020
  • Letter to Israeli government calling for the immediate release of Professor Imad Barghouthi.
    - 22 October 2020
  • Letter to the President of the German Rectors' Conference regarding the recent resolution entitled ‘No place for antisemitism’ and its implications for academic freedom.
    - 26 February 2020
  • Letter from BRISMES regarding the arrest and detention of Mr Patrick Zaki.
    - 14 February 2020
  • BRISMES signs open letter calling for the release of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, academics imprisoned in Iran since last year on charges of espionage.
    - 11 February 2020


Database of Expertise

The Database of Expertise in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies provides a publicly available list of MENA experts with their research and areas of expertise.

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