SOAS relaunches Middle East Institute

SOAS University of London has announced the relaunch of the SOAS Middle East Institute (SMEI), an interdisciplinary centre that aims to foster engagement on the Middle East through research and outreach. 

Directed by Professor Lina Khatib, MBI Al Jaber Chair in Middle East Studies at SOAS, the institute facilitates collaborative efforts among scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to create solutions to key global challenges relevant to the Middle East and North Africa. 

The institute’s diverse activities span art and culture, heritage and history, environment and energy, political economy, public policy, and politics. 

I will continue my research on modern art and architecture of the Middle East

Originally established in 2002 as the London Middle East Institute, the SMEI marks a new era as an innovative research-led institution acting as a global platform for fresh understanding of the Middle East and North Africa.  

Watch the recording of Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi’s lecture at the event

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi appointed Research Associate 

At a relaunch event last week, the Institute welcomed Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi as its inaugural Research Associate. Al-Qassemi, one of the leading figures in the art and cultural space of the Middle East, delivered a public lecture about the work of women artists from the Arab world, offering valuable insights into their engagement with the historical and contemporary social and political landscape of the region. 

Professor Lina Khatib said: "Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi is an internationally renowned public intellectual, writer, and educator. As the founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, he stands as one of the most significant advocates of Middle Eastern visual art globally. 

“I cannot think of a better scholar to collaborate with across the work of the SOAS Middle East Institute." 

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi,  inaugural Research Associate of SOAS Middle East Institute, giving a lecture on the work of women artists from the Arab world.

Al-Qassemi said, "I am pleased to join the SOAS Middle East Institute as a Research Associate, where I will continue my research on modern art and architecture of the Middle East.

“In addition to interacting with the academic community and students, I am most looking forward to spending time in the world-renowned SOAS Library. I am grateful to the SOAS Middle East Institute for extending this kind invitation.” 

SOAS Director Adam Habib said, “We are relaunching the Institute at a time when great challenges facing the Middle East are at the forefront of our minds. The Institute represents precisely the kind of collaboration we need to nurture and grow to understand and provide answers to such challenges, routed in engagement with the region’s rich history as well as its present and future.” 

Representatives from Middle East and North Africa embassies, UK and international think tanks, cultural organisations, and members of the SOAS community and alumni were among over 300 people who attended the event.