MENA-related Events Calendar


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The Palestinian University and Scholasticide

Organiser: LSE Middle East Centre

Speakers: Ahmed Abu Shaban (Al-Azhar University – Gaza); Esmat Elhalaby (University of Toronto)

Chair: Michael Mason (LSE Middle East Centre)

As of April 2024, according to UN experts, over 80% of schools have been damaged or destroyed by the Israeli assault on Gaza, with 5479 students, 261 teachers and 95 university professors killed and many thousands injured. Every university in Gaza is partially or wholly destroyed, whether by bombing or demolition. Amidst the systematic destruction of lives, communities and environments what possibility, if any, is left for education? What does learning mean under conditions of 'scholasticide'

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The Drama of Displacement: The Journey of a Syrian Refugee through Theatre

Organiser: LSE Festival: Power and Politics

Speakers: Nesrin Alrefaai (LSE Middle East Centre) & Matthew Spangler (San José State University)

Chair: Michael Mason (LSE Middle East Centre)

Join us for a staged reading of scenes from a new play by Nesrin Alrefaai and Matthew Spangler, who have collaborated to dramatise the politics and human effects of forced migration. Focusing on the interaction between a Syrian refugee and a state official, this event will explore how theatre plays a role in addressing life experiences during political upheaval. 

 Following the reading, the speakers will lead discussion on the performance, providing wider insights into how theatre can help us understand the effects of politics and power on those seeking refuge.

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W.M. Watt Lecture 2024

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh are delighted to welcome Professor Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi (École Pratique des Hautes Études – Sorbonne) to deliver the seventh annual W.M. Watt Lecture at 5pm UK time on May 27, 2024.

The event is both in-person and will be streamed live via Zoom.

Professor Amir-Moezzi is the author of a wide range of works on Shi`ism, including (in English translation): The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism; The Spirituality of Shii Islam: beliefs and practices; The Silent Quran and the Speaking Quran; The proof of God : Shi'i mysticism in the work of al-Kulayni (9th-10th centuries; Ali, The Well-Guarded Secret.

Professor Amir-Moezzi will talk on ‘Shi’i Islam: Doctrinal Foundations and Historical Developments’

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Monday Majlis - The Qurʾān and Its Masculine God: A Historical Feminist Analysis

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

Speaker: Zahra Mohaghegian (Assistant Professor, Institution for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran, Iran) 

A major pursuit of hermeneutic feminists is to modify the traditional understanding of the Qurʾān in order to present a pattern of gender equality, and consequently, enhance the status of women in Islam. While they emphasize the historical view and the non-selective approach to the Qurʾānic verses, they deviate from these assumptions in practice. In particular, when it comes to the supernatural realm of the Qurʾān, especially Allāh’s character, they portray it as devoid of sexism, repression, and discrimination. In this presentation, I show that the God of the Qurʾān not only lacks a gender-free and universal nature but, due to the prevailing cultural context of the time, it has an all-masculine and even repressive image. To do so, I will focus on Qurʾānic verses concerning Allāh’s fight against the three goddesses, showing the process of their elimination and repression in the Qurʾān. The main questions are as follows: How has gender found its way into the supernatural realm of the Qurʾān? How are the goddesses addressed in the Qurʾān and how are they treated by Allāh? How does such a treatment relate to the development of the masculine system? I conclude that, without a proper analysis of the sexism within the supernatural realm of the Qurʾān, one cannot draw on its rulings and statements to deal with issues of gender justice. 

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Economic Diversification and Climate Change in the Middle East

Organiser: Middle East Centre, St Antony's College

Speaker: Associate Professor Dr Sarah Bush (University of Pennsylvania)

Registration not required. 

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Book Launch | The Making of the Modern Muslim State: Islam and Governance in the Middle East and North Africa

Organiser: Middle East Centre, St Antony's College

Speaker: Malika Zeghal, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in Contemporary Islamic Thought and Life (Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)

Join us for this book launch: ‘An innovative analysis that traces the continuity of the state’s custodianship of Islam as the preferred religion in the Middle East and North Africa’. The event will be chaired by Professor Raihan Ismail, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor in Contemporary Islamic Studies. There will be an opportunity to ask Professor Malika Zeghal questions directly after her presentation.

Registration not required.

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Screening the documentary film “Antoine the Fortunate” at Oxford

Organiser: Middle East Centre, St Antony's College

Registration not required. 

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The Challenges of Development in Muslim Societies

Online short course, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, 4-5 June 2024

This two-day course introduces participants to the different approaches to development and how these approaches inform development policies. Participants will be able to share their own understanding of development and explore current datasets on development indicators to investigate the experiences of Muslim-majority countries (MMCs). We will also look at the historical evidence to see what can be learnt from today’s industrialised or high-income countries, and what this implies for the types of policies to promote development in MMCs, including the roles of government, private sector, civil society and NGOs.

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Battleground: 10 Conflicts that Explain the New Middle East

Organiser: LSE Middle East Centre

Speaker: Christopher Phillips (Queen Mary University of London); Faisal Al Yafai (New Lines Magazine)

Chair: Rim Turkmani (LSE Middle East Centre)

Phillips' new book explores geopolitical rivalries in the region, and the major external powers vying for influence: Russia, China, the EU, and the US. Moving through ten key flashpoints, from Syria to Palestine, Phillips argues that the United States’ overextension after the Cold War, and retreat in the 2010s, has imbalanced the region. Today, the Middle East remains blighted by conflicts of unprecedented violence and a post-American scramble for power – leaving its fate in the balance.

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2024 Sir William Luce Lecture | Aid from Gulf donors in conflict zones

Organiser: Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Durham University

Speaker: Dr Altea Pericoli (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Lund University) 

Dr Altea Pericoli's research has the overall objective to provide a broader understanding of humanitarian aid in conflict zones as implemented by Gulf actors and to improve the dialogue between Western and Gulf donors. The research examines foreign aid interventions of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their implementation in Yemen, Sudan, and Syria (including the Syrian refugee issue) in the period 2015-2022. The study combines international relations theories and the anthropological approach to humanitarian aid analysis, embedding a top-down and bottom-up observation of aid interventions. 

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2024 Mohamed Ali Foundation Fellowship Programme Lectures

Organiser: The Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Durham University 

The Mohamed Ali Foundation and Durham University's Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies present three free public lectures that place Abbas Hilmi II and the archive of this last khedive of Egypt in context. This year's two visiting fellows Dr Xiaoyue Li and Prof. Lucia Carminati will be joined by guest lecturer Dr Dimitrios Lamprakis; they will deliver lectures on the following topics: 

- Finance, Technology, and Politics in Egyptian Railways during the reign of Abbas Hilmi II (Dr Xiaoyue Li)

- Egypt’s Borders and Their Crossers, 1875-1937: A History of Mobility, State, and Society (Prof. Lucia Carminati)

- Mohamed Ali Pasha’s waqfiyyah and his endowment as a testimony to his indissoluble bond with his motherland Kavala (Dr Dimitrios Lamprakis)

If you intend to attend in person, please RSVP by 10 June.

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Memory Politics and Contentious Heritage in Anṣār Allāh/Ḥūthī Yemen

Leiden Yemeni Studies Lecture Series

Speaker: Marieke Brandt (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Discussant: Noha Sadek (French Research Centre of the Arabian Peninsula in Kuwait)

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Arabic Manuscripts Codicology and Philology

Organisers: Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (London) in cooperation with the Academy of Science (Portugal)

The Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (London), in cooperation with the Academy of Science (Portugal), is pleased to announce an advanced training course entitled Manuscripts for Research: An Advanced Course in Arabic Manuscript Studies, which will be held at the prestigious Library of the Academy of Science of Lisbon (founded on 24 December 1779). The course will take place from 8-11 July 2024. 

During this course, participants will have the chance to examine the vibrant collection of manuscripts at the Academy of Science of Lisbon. An outstanding collage of manuscripts covers different subjects and geographies. The course will consist of interactive lectures about codicology and philology and hands-on sessions focusing on a selection of manuscripts from the valuable collection at the Academy of Science. 

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Exhibition | Hudood: Rethinking boundaries

The exhibition introduces contemporary art from the Barjeel Foundation, with a focus on the overarching theme of "Boundaries" as both a subject and a tool for meaningfully accessing a diverse array of art from the SWANA region. Delving into the profound implications of walls and borders on artistic expression, the exhibition prompts the question of whether it is the artist's perspective that ultimately transcends these boundaries.

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Keynote Lecture: Friendship and Scholarship in 20th-Century Yemen

Leiden Yemeni Studies Lecture Series

Speaker: Sabine Schmidtke (Institute of Advanced Study)

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Manuscripts in Arabic Script: Introduction to Codicology

Online short course, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, 7-8 October 2024

This course introduces students to the study of manuscripts (codicology). It will allow participants to apply the technical terminology of codicology and understand how writing materials were prepared. We also explore the institutional contexts in which manuscripts were produced and discuss how codicological methods can inform research in history and art history.

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If you would like to add your event to the calendar, please email with the details.

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