The Institute for Middle East Studies was founded in 2007 as part of a broad, University-wide initiative to support academic work on the Middle East. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW created four new faculty positions focusing on the Middle East. At the same time, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences authorized the creation of three new full-time positions in Arabic. These new faculty members joined an impressive array of Middle East experts at GW, creating a fully inter-disciplinary collective of faculty associates for the Institute.
IMES faculty associates represent a breadth of disciplines from political science to media and public affairs to religion to international business. IMES faculty associates are instrumental in coordinating major grant proposals, organizing research workshops and conferences for the Institute, and contributing original research to current academic and policy debates. Additionally, IMES is committed to hosting visiting scholars researching topics related to the Middle East and offers Research Associate status to scholars resident in the Washington, DC area whose work is related to the Institute's research program.
IMES hosts workshops and conferences where Middle East scholars from across the United States and the world can discuss new academic trends and developments. IMES also supports extensive programming aimed an academic audience, the policy community, and interested members of the public. The Middle East Policy Forum, hosted by Amb. Edward W. Gnehm, Jr., brings leading experts and diplomats to GW to discuss pressing policy issues.
IMES is also dedicated to supporting educational programs that focus on the modern Middle East, such as the Elliott School's B.A. and M.A. programs in Middle East Studies. The Institute serves as the administrative home of these programs, and actively involves both graduate and undergraduate students in IMES programming, as well as co-sponsors relevant events coordinated by GW student groups. Each academic year, the Institute provides research and travel funding to students, to support research and study both at GW and abroad.
IMES encourages intellectual collaboration among members of the GW community interested in the Middle East, between GW research institutes, and with other organizations in the Washington area. In promoting, and publicizing new work on the Middle East, IMES aims to deepen understanding of this critical region among scholars, students, and the broader public.