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Middle East Centre
London School of Economics and Political Science
Tower 1, 10th Floor, Room 10.01
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE 

Sandra Sfeir
+44 (0)20 7955 6198


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Research at the MEC

The MEC conducts and facilitates original research on the politics, societies and economics of the region. Research is conducted by Centre staff, academics based in other LSE departments and by Visiting Fellows. Through the Emirates PhD Awards programme, the MEC also offers financial assistance to LSE PhD students in their final year, supporting fieldwork and original research.

Current Projects


Trust, Constitution and the Process of Subjectification among Tunisian Youth|

This project aims to shed light on the complex factors that led to the political significance of youth movements in Tunisia and the complex factors that lead to political stability and instability. The project focuses on two aspects: 1. the constitution building in contemporary Tunisia and issues of trust among the political elite concerning the effectiveness of constitutionalism – both as a source for individual rights and as a guarantor of stability; and 2. the issue of youth mobilization as a factor that has been crucial across the Middle East in understanding stability and security.

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Social Movements and Popular Mobilization in the MENA|

The Arab uprisings have caused a deluge of interest in social movements and contestation in the region from both inside and outside Middle East Studies, from the public, from policy-makers, and from students since this uniquely televised, tweeted and mediatised revolutionary process was launched.
This research network aims at bringing together academics and students in the field to form a critical mass capable of tackling key topics and problems in a connected and systematic way, delivering intellectual leadership in the field.

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Gentrification and Neighbourhood Change in Ras Beirut|

Gentrification is transforming the physical and social fabric of Ras Beirut. In contrast to the well-established literature on gentrification in North American and European cities, and increasing focus on cities in developing and transitional economies, there is comparatively little academic research on gentrification in cities in the Middle East or Western Asia. The proposed research will make a significant original contribution in this context, both in terms of academic research and in its engagement with urban policy and practice.

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Understanding the Role of International Actors in Enhancing Women's Rights after a Foreign Military Intervention: A Case Study of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq|

This research, led by the LSE MEC and the American University in Dubai, addresses the role of international intervention in contributing to the deteriorating status of women in Iraq, based on studies that show that the rate of violence against women in Iraq is increasing.  Although the situation of women in Iraqi Kurdistan has been considered “relatively better off” in comparison to women in the rest of Iraq, women in this region have also suffered equally dramatic forms of subordination before and after the invasion.

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Transboundary Climate Security: Climate Vulnerability and Human Security in the Jordan River Basin|

This project is jointly undertaken by LSE (Geography and Environment Department) and Birzeit University (Civil Engineering Department). The research addresses climate vulnerable rural communities within the national territories of the watershed of the Jordan River (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory), which is perhaps the most physically and politically stressed river basin in the world, critically applying a human security approach.

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The Palimpsest of Agrarian Change|

This research is part of a collaboration project between LSE and the American University of Beirut (AUB). The aim of the project is to explore the relation between secure, long-term access to land for farming households and their capacity to contribute to local, regional and national ‘food security’.  Two villages from southern and eastern Lebanon will be compared in depth, but a wider number of cases will be brought in at a more superficial level.

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Contemporary Challenges Resulting from the Demographic Profile of GCC States: Labour Markets, Migration, and National Identity|

The purpose of this project is to offer a frank and detailed examination of the conceptual framework that appears to be coalescing around the demographic imbalance in the GCC, and to investigate the extent to which there is a disconnect between the perceptions and realities of the threat it actually poses. This project is in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU).

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LSE Academic Collaboration with the American University of Sharjah (AUS)|

Building on connections established in the autumn of 2011, this programme fosters collaborative academic links between the two institutions. As well as strengthening knowledge transfer between the universities, it also encourages high calibre research by LSE and AUS faculty members.

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Women's Health in Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt): Inclusion and Exclusion|

The long-running and ongoing conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) has had a large impact on the quality of life and wellbeing of Palestinians. The health-related impacts of conflict have significant gender associations, although they remain under-researched. This research, led by the Department of Social Policy at LSE in collaboration with Birzeit University, addresses the implications of the variations in availability, accessibility, and quality of women’s health services, taking into account associated demographic, socio-economic and political factors.

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Previous Projects


Women's Political Participation across the Arab region: Mapping of Existing and New Emerging Forces in the Region|

In January 2013, the MEC received a major research grant from Oxfam GB to conduct research on ‘Women's Political Participation across the Arab region: Mapping of existing and new emerging forces in the region’. The project covered five countries: Egypt, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Tunisia and Yemen. A report based on the research will be published by the MEC soon.

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Egypt in the Arab Spring: Multidisciplinary Research Perspectives|

This capacity-building project, ran by the MEC in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS), Cairo University aims to encourage dialogue and exchange of ideas between academics and PhD students from the two institutions on key problems and opportunities raised by the Arab Spring, and their implications both for existing academic debates and for policy-making rspectives.

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