International attention remains riveted on the Middle East, as issues related to social change continue to unfold against the region’s rich and diverse heritage. To deepen understanding of this vitally important region, GW in 2007 established the Elliott School’s Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES), part of a university-wide initiative to support teaching and research on the area. Representing multiple disciplines, IMES faculty members undertake vital studies to discover solutions to the challenges spanning more than a dozen nations. Their work attracts attention from foundations and organizations that share the goal of advancing dialogue on the modern Middle East.
Viewing the Middle East through a wide lens, IMES faculty engage in groundbreaking research that helps to inform and shape policy. Consequently, global organizations and media outlets often turn to IMES scholars for guidance and commentary.
The institute is a major center for open and informed dialogue among scholars and government and business leaders. Signature events include the IMES Annual Conference, the Middle East Policy Forum, and the annual Kuwait Chair Lecture. In addition, IMES sponsors outstanding visiting scholars focused on the Middle East, enriching the institute’s scholarship and academic programs.
The 2018 IMES Annual Conference brought together more than a dozen top scholars to discuss Palestinian society in the 70 years since Israel became a nation. Participants included faculty from Brown, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago, among others.
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.