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A Message from the Director
Photo of Director Ambassador Istrabadi

Welcome to the Indiana University Center for the Study of the Middle East (CSME), a Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Center. This is a particularly prestigious designation, conferred by the US Department of Education, and shared by CSME and only 14 other Middle East centers at universities across the United States. With some 100 members of the IUB faculty located in the College of Arts and Sciences and six professional schools, CSME promotes multi- and inter-disciplinary knowledge of the Middle East by supporting academic programs, scholarship, public outreach, and support for educators and students at all levels. The Middle East has long been a center of political, cultural, religious and linguistic fascination. It is of tremendous importance to the vital strategic interests of the U.S., and never more so than at this moment of unrest and turmoil across the region.


Understanding of the Middle East cannot occur without a solid grounding in the modern languages of the region. Thus, CSME supports the study of modern Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and Persian. Using NRC funds, we are also developing the country’s first communicative curriculum in Kurdish. We expect a pilot course to begin in the Summer Term in 2015, through our partner institution, IU’s Summer Language Workshop. With other partners across the Bloomington Campus, CSME also sponsors and supports degree and non-degree programs enhancing scholarly understanding of the Middle East. CSME does this, in part, by facilitating close academic collaboration between our flagship departments, Borns Jewish Studies Program, Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS), and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC), and the professional schools that are also constituents of CSME.

CSME plans to continue to strengthen understanding of the Middle East. We will accomplish this through teacher training in cooperation with the existing NRCs and the School of Education, as well as through outreach programs to teachers in K-16 programs in the State of Indiana. To do so, CSME will emphasize historically underserved populations. In addition, CSME develops curricula, enhances library collections that reflect our current breadth of teaching, expands faculty, builds capacity, and engages in outreach to local schools and the broader community regarding the Middle East. We are convinced that nurturing area expertise in K-12 teachers and thus students, as well as our broader community, promotes a better-informed citizenry across our State, especially providing opportunities to expand the horizons of Indiana’s pre-collegiate students. We are committed to this mission.


-Amb. Feisal al-Istrabadi

Founding Director,
Center for the Study of the Middle East

The Iran Nuclear Agreement

"Nuclear Diplomacy: Colliding Narratives, Damaging Misconceptions, Controversial Outcome"
Steven Miller, Harvard University


"Debunking Obama's Claims" Alan Kuperman, University of Texas at Austin


"Regional Implications"
F. Gregory Gause, III, University of Texas A&M


"Shiite Doctrine, Iranian Politics, and Nuclear Weapons"
Juan Cole, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor



New Book by NELC Professor Kevin Martin

Syria's Democratic Years



Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Professor Kevin Martin has just published a new book entitled Syria's Democratic Years: Citizens, Experts, and Meida in the 1950s his book looks at the years 1954–1958 in Syria are popularly known as "The Democratic Years," a brief period of civilian government before the consolidation of authoritarian rule. It is available on Amazon or at Indiana University Press