SOAS University of London

SOAS’s London Middle East Institute hosts alumni event in Amman

6 April 2017
Amman Alumni Event-LMEI

SOAS University of London alumni gathered last month at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts as part of SOAS’s centenary celebrations in the Middle East.

Alumni met with Dr Hassan Hakimian, Director of the London Middle East Institute and HRH Princess Wijdan Al-Hashemi, President of the Society of Fine Arts and a SOAS Honorary Fellow. Professor Massoud Karshenas of the Economics Department was also present.

The Gallery, which houses one of the most prominent permanent art collections in the Middle East, provided a beautiful setting for the SOAS staff, alumni and their guests to meet, network and renew their ties in Amman.  Princess Wijdan Al-Hashemi, who hosted the reception, invited alumni to form a local association to meet regularly at the Gallery as a venue.  This was welcomed by alumni and the LMEI who said it will offer a  great opportunity for SOAS academics visiting Amman to provide talks to enrich the gatherings.

Princess Wijdan Al-Hashemi is a renowned painter, art historian, academic and diplomat. She completed a PhD in Islamic Art from SOAS (1993) and is a Fellow of SOAS (2010). She established the Royal Society of Fine Arts (1979) which founded the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts (1980). She was Ambassador of Jordan to Italy (2006-2011) and has over 19 publications.

Dr Hakimian said: “This gathering was an excellent opportunity for SOAS to energise its alumni in Jordan during the SOAS centenary celebrations. We were much heartened by the positive spirit we saw and the fantastic commitment to initiate a local group for regular meetings. We are grateful to Princess Wijdan for her hospitality and leadership.”

The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts houses nearly 3,000 works including paintings, ceramics, sculptures, weavings, photography and more by more than 700 artists from 45 countries, largely Asia, Africa and South America (

For information on the London Middle East Institute