Laleh Khalili (Professor of Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter) is a prolific academic, widely respected across the world for her research, and for how her work has shaped how we understand the politics, societies and economies of the Middle East. Many Middle East Studies scholars will be familiar with her books Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration; Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgency; and Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula; as well as her many articles and reviews; her fantastic blog, and her beguiling social media - especially the pictures of food she cooks and takes so much pleasure in.
While the BRISMES Service Award is given in recognition of Laleh’s innumerable contributions to the field through her corpus of published work, more fundamentally it is awarded for her wider contributions to Middle Eastern Studies as a teacher, colleague and mentor. In preparing to give this award, we reached out to some of Laleh’s former and current colleagues, friends, and especially her students. They showered her with praise and affection in reflections littered with superlatives, which demonstrates the extraordinary care, generosity and support for which she is widely and justifiably known. She is solidaristic and non-hierarchical; one of the rare professors on the picket line (come rain, shine or snow); and brings her characteristic clarity, energy, and wit to those collective struggles, all the while offering exceptional support and mentorship to her colleagues, and especially to early career scholars.