SOAS Middle East Institute


Middle East studies has deep roots and a long history at SOAS.

Over the past century, the Middle East has been at the heart of SOAS academic offerings and its regional perspective on world affairs. The SOAS Middle East Institute (SMEI) was established in 2002 (formerly known as the London Middle East Institute - LMEI, until 2019) to foster scholarly and public interest in the MENA region. Home to over 100 academic members, we pride ourselves as the world’s premier institution with one of the largest concentrations of interdisciplinary expertise in this field globally.

It's two specialist sub-centres – The Centre for Iranian Studies (CIS) and Centre for Palestine Studies (CPS) – each with over 30 academic members reflect the depth of expertise we host. 

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SOAS Middle East Institute
SOAS University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies)
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

Press and media enquiries

Interviews with our members and experts on the Middle East and North Africa can be arranged by calling the SOAS Press Office on +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or by emailing

Visiting scholars

The Institute welcomes visiting scholars of Middle Eastern studies who wish to be located at SOAS to take advantage of the university's research culture and the world renowned SOAS Library. 

Patron and donor

The Founding Patron and Donor, whose generous support helped the establishment of the Institute, is Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation. The Foundation supports a wide range of Middle East-related educational activities.

Prospective students

The SOAS Middle East Institute is not a teaching department. For enquiries related to courses or studying at the university, please contact the relevant SOAS department.

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