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About MEI

The Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

Mission Statement

(April 2014)


The Middle East Institute (MEI) was established in 2007 as an autonomous research institute within the National University of Singapore (NUS). The Institute’s mission is to serve as a hub for Middle East studies in Singapore and Southeast Asia. As such, MEI provides a welcoming intellectual space not only for research but also for debate and discussion on the political, economic, social and cultural issues in a region of immense economic and strategic importance that is undergoing profound upheavals. This “broader Middle East” stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf and comprises the 22 Arab states, Turkey, Iran, and Israel. In addition, MEI studies the global transnational forces affecting the region: the great powers, transnational extremism, labor migration, human rights, and energy and oil.

MEI encourages research and publication in three broad clusters: politics and security, economics and business, and culture and society. The Institute supports some fifteen researchers, from post-doctoral to senior fellows, representing the disciplines of anthropology, economics, history, international relations, Islamic Studies and political sociology. Its primary audiences are the academic, governmental, and business communities.

As part of its effort to make the Middle East accessible to the general public in Singapore it also disseminates historical knowledge to secondary school students, civil society associations, and the news media. It recruits globally for high-quality scholars across the social sciences and humanities, and it encourages interdisciplinary approaches.

MEI has also established academic links with similar institutions in East Asia and in Europe, the Middle East and North America. The Institute organizes conferences and seminars that are open to the public and publishes books, commentaries and analytical pieces on contemporary issues in the Middle East.