MENA-related Events Calendar


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Upcoming Events


Memorial in honour of Derek Hopwood OBE and Celia Kerslake

Organiser: St Antony's College, University of Oxford

The Director and Fellows of the Middle East Centre, St Antony’s College are convening a memorial in honour of Derek Hopwood OBE, Emeritus Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies (1933-2020) and Celia Kerslake, Emeritus Fellow in Turkish (1946-2023). Colleagues and former students of Derek and Celia are all welcome, please email Caroline Davis at: / 01865 612302 for further details and to indicate your intention to attend - everyone is welcome. The event will end with a small drinks reception for all those attending. We very much hope that you can join us.

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The Jews of Tunisia Past, Present and Future

Organiser: British Tunisian Society

Speaker: Dr Daniel Lee (QMUL)

In light of the recent attack that took place at the annual Jewish pilgrimage to Djerba in May 2023, Daniel Lee, a historian at Queen Mary University of London and member of the British Tunisian Society, will discuss the past, present and future of the Jews of Tunisia. In 1945 a historic Jewish population numbering more than 100,000 lived in Tunisia, where they were spread out across the county’s main towns and cities. Jews played leading roles in all aspects of the country’s economic, cultural and political life. Just as Jewish performers thrived in music, cinema and theatre during the inter-war years, Jews assumed important positions in the nationalist and Communist cause. The creation of a Jewish state, decolonisation and the local reverberations of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, led to Jews’ mass migration. Today, fewer than 1,500 Jews live in the country where they are mostly concentrated on the remote island of Djerba.

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Economic, Political and Social Consequences of the Military Confrontation in Sudan

Organiser: The Sudanese Programme in collaboration with the Middle East Centre, St Antony's College

Chair: Dr Ahmed Al-Shahi and Dr Richard Barltrop 

The Sudanese Programme is organising a webinar to consider the Economic, Political and Social Consequences of the Military Confrontation in Sudan. Speakers will be confirmed shortly. There will be a Q&A session after the presentations. To join the audience, registration is essential. We hope that you are able to join us in person at St Antony's College, Oxford however if you can't, you can still join online through Zoom.

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Monday Majlis - Deconstructing Memories of Ali in Sunni and Shiʿi Islam

Organiser: Centre for the Study of Islam, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter

Speaker: Nebil Husayn

Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali, can be considered one of the most revered figures in Islamic history. His nearly universal portrayal in Muslim literature as a pious authority obscures the views of his opponents who considered him an illegitimate ruler and a centuries-long process that entailed the rehabilitation of his character. In his book, Opposing the Imam (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Nebil Husayn considers the diverse ways in which early Muslims remembered Ali and contextualizes the rise of both Sunnism and Shi'ism. This presentation discusses key findings from this recent publication.

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A Celebration of BYS's 30 Year Engagement with Yemen

Organiser: The British Yemeni Society and the All Party Parliamentary Group Yemen

The event will be hosted by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Yemen (APPG) Yemen, and James Firebrace, Chair of the British Yemeni Society (BYS). We are seeking to arrange a contribution by video from Hans Grundberg (UN Special Envoy. 

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Ibn Khaldûn's Theory and its Relevance

Organiser: The Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award

Speaker: Gabriel Martinez-Gros (Emeritus Professor, Universities of Paris/Vincennes and Paris/Nanterre)

Ibn Khaldûn’s theory is a tool with which to analyse the imperial societies identified by a heavy centralised state taxation, gigantic capital cities and a strict segregation between peaceful population in charge of productive activities (sedentary, in Ibn Khaldûn’s terms) and ethnic groups in charge of violent and military functions (Bedouins in Ibn Khaldûn’s terms). Our modern societies found other ways to increase the wealth of nations, and Ibn Khaldûn’s thought lost its relevance. But it might recover part of it if the global economic growth decreases into a stagnant society.

In 2023, Professor Martinez-Gros was shortlisted for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the Arab Culture in Other Languages category for his book De l’autre côté des croisades: L’Islam entre croisés et Mongols (On the Other Side of the Crusades: Islam between Crusaders and Mongols, French by Passés Composés, 2021).

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Annual George Antonius Memorial Lecture - Zionism and the Jews of Iraq: A Personal Perspective

Organiser: St Antony's College, University of Oxford

Join us for the Middle East Centre's Annual George Antonius Memorial Lecture. Emeritus Professor Avi Shlaim, FBA will speak on 'Zionism and the Jews of Iraq: A Personal Perspective'.

This annual lecture is also a launch for Avi Shlaim’s new book. Three Worlds: Memoir of an Arab-Jew which will be published by Oneworld on 8 June. The three worlds of the title are Baghdad to the age of 5, Ramat Gan, Israel, 10 to 15, and school in London, 15 to 18. The book uses a family history to tell the bigger story of the Jewish community in Iraq, its rich culture, its integration into Iraqi society, and its contribution to nation-building at various levels. The lecture revolves round the central concept of the Arab-Jew. It examines the circumstances surrounding the Jewish exodus from Iraq in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It challenges the Zionist narrative which claims that antisemitism was the main driver of the exodus. It argues that the Zionist movement played an active part in the uprooting of Iraqi Jews, and it presents new evidence to support this argument.

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Book launch | Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Foreign Policy

Organiser: The Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London

Speaker: Dr Robert Mason (Arab Gulf States Institute, Washington, and Gulf Research Centre, Jeddah)

The year 1973 is usually considered the great equaliser among major oil producers. But the 'Visions' strategies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a so-called middle power and small state in the Middle East regional system, point to broadening economic relations as a great enhancer of economic power. This book explores the impact of regime type and leadership style on the two countries' foreign policies. It reveals how autonomy and influence, threat perception and alliance patterns are folded into the complex and personal riyal politik and economic statecraft that sit at the core of their international relations.

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