Middle East Institute


Founded in 1954, the Middle East Institute at Columbia University (MEI) promotes the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and North Africa together with associated regions of Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and other related global communities. Drawing on the expertise of faculty and the interests of students located across the many academic departments and specialized schools of the university, the Institute’s activities focus on the advancement of academic knowledge and the enhancement of public understanding.

The central mission of the MEI, in accord with its long-established institutional duties and responsibilities, is to foster an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental approach to enhancing Columbia’s world-class Middle East program. The Institute works to strengthen and broaden the curriculum by supporting courses to supplement departmental offerings, and it provides a vibrant forum for faculty and students to work together across the different disciplines through workshops, lectures, conferences, and social events. The Institute offers an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in Islamic Studies. The Institute also administers governmental Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to students for language study and for research in the region and at home, and it advises students on courses, language programs, and career opportunities. 

Working to inform and educate the media, government, and general public about the Middle East, the Institute also collaborates with other regional institutes and units of the university to advance knowledge about issues and processes that now transcend one region. The Middle East Institute is designated as a Middle East National Resource Center by the US Department of Education.