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Middle East Centre

How to contact us

Middle East Centre
Tower 1, 10th Floor
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE 

General Enquiries and Events
Sandra Sfeir|
+44 (0)20 7955 6198

Projects and Scholarships Enquiries 
Chelsea Milsom|
+44 (0)20 7955 7038

Media and Communications Enquiries
Ribale Sleiman Haidar
+44(0)20 7955 6250




LSE Middle East Alumni Forum 2015, Dubai| 

Building on last year's successful event, the LSE Middle East Centre and The Abraaj Group are organising the second LSE Middle East Alumni Forum, on Monday 11 May 2015 in Dubai. Confirmed speakers include Professor Craig Calhoun, Mr Arif Naqvi, Professor Toby Dodge and Dr Steffen Hertog. 

This event is free and open to all however registration is necessary. Please register using our online booking system.|


BRISMES Annual Conference 2015: Liberation?|

Early bird registration for the BRISMES Annual Conference 2015 is now open. This year, the conference takes 'liberation' for a theme. Liberation has been a recurrent theme in the Middle East for millennia. People have sought it in a multitude of ways – through politics, mysticism, philosophy, and personal piety.

Register now|


Steffen Hertog comments on the role of Saudi Aramco for the Economist|

Aramco is not the only national oil company to get dragged into doing the state’s economic-development work, but no other has quite such a smorgasbord of tasks. 'There is a genuine nationalism in Aramco', says Steffen Hertog. 

Read the full article|


Romola Sanyal for the Institute for Palestine Studies
How Refuge Creates Informality: Shelter Politics in Refugee Camps in Beirut|

This paper looks at how humanitarian policies of protection encourage the development of informality in refugee camps, particularly informal housing.

Read the full paper|


UNDP Iraq Human Development Report 2014
Iraqi Youth Challenges and Opportunities|

Former MEC Fellow Dr Amal Shlash was lead author of the UNDP Iraq Human Development Report 2014, which focuses on opportunities and challenges related to youth development – a promising foundation is being laid for the empowerment of the youth.

Download the full report|


CANCELLED: The Unexpected State: British Politics and the Creation of Israel|

On Monday 2 March, Carly Beckerman-Boys challenges the traditional historiography of the Palestine Mandate, revealing how political manoeuvring in Westminster inadvertently forged Britain's formative relationship with Zionism.


Algeria: a state and its discontents|

On Tuesday 10 March, Lahouari Addi discusses the current situation in Algeria, from the sickness and subsequent disappearance of Bouteflika from the public eye, to the protests in the south resisting the exploitation of the country's vast shale gas reserves and, importantly, the future of Algeria's economic situation in the face of declining oil prices.


Empire, Revolt, and State Formation in the Middle East and North Africa in the 1920s|

On Tuesday 17 March, Jonathan Wyrtzen of Yale University looks at different typologies of state formation during the 1920s (both by the British, French, Italian, and Spanish colonial powers and by local actors including Ataturk, Ibn Saud, and Abd al-Krim) and of anti-state resistance, emphasising the importance of transregional linkages during this critical historical juncture.

Refreshments will be provided.This is a registration only event. Please register using our online booking system|.


Democracy in Turkey: institutions, society and foreign relations|

On Thursday 19 March, a panel of experts discuss the question of democracy in Turkey within a broader historical context and address the profound changes undergone by Turkish society and politics. In particular, the focus will be on the achievements and failures of the post-2002 period of Justice and Development Party’s time in government. 


International Statebuilding and Gender in the Middle East Conference|

On Monday 30 March, a panel of experts looks at the impact of the relationship between international, national and local actors on the level of incorporation of gender in the processes of statebuilding in the Middle East. 

This event is free and open to all however registration is necessary|.


The Non-Contentious Politics of Labour Protests in Egypt|

In this talk, Marie Duboc looks at labour protests in Egypt before and after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. She argues that repression and radicalisation do not fully capture the dynamics of social movements in authoritarian contexts. Instead, she suggests expanding the contentious politics approach, the dominant theoretical framework used to study collective action.

Listen to the podcast|


Middle East Border Geopolitics: established and emerging themes|

In trying to make sense of the spontaneous appearance of new borderland spatialities in Syria and Iraq, as well as recent instances of formal state boundary-making such as the Abyei arbitration, Richard Schofield asks what constitutes a borderland in the Middle East. Addressing both historical and contemporary concerns, with notable attention being paid to Iran-Iraq and Saudi-Yemen, he argues that developing a more overtly multidisciplinary basis for the study of contested borders will best aid their appreciation and understanding.

Listen to podcast|



Iraq After America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance|

More than a decade after the US-led invasion of Iraq, most studies of the Iraq conflict focus on the twin questions of whether the United States should have entered Iraq in 2003 and whether it  should have exited in 2011, but few have examined the new Iraqi state and society on its own merits. In this lecture, Joel Rayburn presents his book Iraq After America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance, in which he examines the government and the sectarian and secular factions that have emerged in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003, presenting the interrelations among the various elements in the Iraqi political scene.


Listen to the podcast|


Recalibrating Authoritarianism After the Arab Spring|

How have the Arab Uprisings of 2011 affected authoritarian governance in the Arab world? How have Arab regimes responded to the distinctive challenges posed by the rapid emergence of oppositional forms of mass politics? What forms of authoritarian governance seem to be emerging in the wake of the Uprisings? Reflecting on the debate about the resilience of authoritarianism in the Middle East, Steven Heydemann analyses what regime responses to the rise of mass political movements tell us about the capacity of Arab regimes to adapt in the face of new challenges.

Listen to the podcast|



Syria and the Future of the State Order in the Levant|

As the Syrian conflict nears its fourth anniversary, it poses a growing threat to the stability of the state order in the Levant and Arab East. Violence has spilled across all of Syria’s borders, fuelled by regional and international involvement on all sides of the conflict. The region has not experienced turmoil on this scale for almost a century. In this talk, Steven Heydemann argues that the widespread violence now gripping the Levant  has a logic and structure that can shed light on its underlying dynamics, its drivers, and its possible effects.

Listen to the podcast|



GCC Collision Course
by Karen E. Young There is an allegory now circulating among Gulf analysts: Two trains left the station at the same time, one from Abu Dhabi and one from Doha. In Libya they collide, and no one is there to assess or reconstruct the damage.* Early warning systems of state failure and collapse were novel approaches to bring political science […]

The Arab Thermidor
by Marc Lynch It is sometimes hard to remember that the Arab uprisings of 2010-11 promised the possibility of meaningful political change. The unprecedented outburst of popular mobilization overthrew some regimes and unsettled most of the others. Those hopes have long since come crashing down. Egypt’s transition ended in a military coup, bloody repression, and a neo-authoritarianism legitimated through xenophobic […]

Facing the Expected Deficit – Kuwait
by Dr Hessah Al-Ojayan  On 27 January 2015, The Kuwaiti Finance Minister, Anas Al-Saleh, released to the press the official annual budget of the state of Kuwait for the year 2015/2016. Numbers indicate an expected deficit of KD 8.2 billion (US$27.5 billion). The Minister stated that the deficit is planned to be funded through either borrowing from the General Reserve […]

Middle Eastern Politics through the prism of IS: A brief assessment
by Marianna Charountaki The Syrian crisis has altered local discourse and the foreign policy orientation of many of the regional state and non-state actors in the Middle Eastern region, not forgetting the powerful member states of the international community. This is illustrated by the explicit refusal of the European states as well as the US administration to become involved in […]

Post-Maliki Iraq: An uncertain future?
by Farhan Siddiqi Are the divisions between Shi’as, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq so severe and entrenched that they are irreconcilable? Has Iraq reached its proverbial end? Though re-inventing itself as a federal, power-sharing democracy in the wake of the American invasion, Iraq’s political development since then has remained path-dependent, unable to shake off Saddam’s authoritarian legacy. While it is […]

The path to reform in Bahrain
by Ali Alaswad On a political level Bahrain’s 2014 parliamentary elections were meaningless. Less than half of the local population voted in an ineffectual and unconvincing new parliament that continues to have no real power. Yet, its significance as a marker for the authorities in Bahrain to abandon any pretence of reform, and move directly into a security confrontation, cannot […]

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