SOAS Middle East Institute


The SOAS Middle East Institute (SMEI) is an interdisciplinary institute promoting innovative engagement on the Middle East through research and outreach.

The SMEI is a forward-thinking hub bringing together the worlds of scholarship, practice, and policy to foster meaningful exchanges among diverse stakeholders and craft creative solutions to key planetary challenges pertinent to the Middle East and North Africa.

The SMEI’s activities span several intersecting work streams: art and culture, heritage and history, environment and energy, political economy, public policy, and politics.

The SMEI was first established in 2002 as the London Middle East Institute to foster scholarly and public interest in the MENA region. It collaborates closely with the academic community and with specialist centres on the region at SOAS.

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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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