About Us

The University of Michigan Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies is committed to promoting a broader and deeper understanding of the region--its histories, cultures, and peoples. The center provides a venue for faculty, students, and the community to learn and share knowledge and partners with a host of units across campus on projects of mutual interest. 


  • Supports dialogue between U-M faculty, students, and the broader community by organizing and supporting conferences, lectures, and performances
  • Produces outstanding scholars in a supportive environment where students have the opportunity to investigate current and historical events  related to the middle east
  • Invites scholars from the region and elsewhere in the world to the University of Michigan to teach, collaborate, and take advantage of our outstanding libraries and research facilities
  • Is a premier resource on the Middle East and North Africa for scholars and the public at large

CMENAS Chronology

1889           Instruction in Near Eastern studies began at U-M.  Chairman of the department,                     George Cameron increased the staff in Islamic studies and expanded the coverage                     of languages

1948           Funded by the Ford Foundation, Oil companies and the Department of Education,                     the government expressed interest in increasing the numbers of graduates with                     'strategic' languages.

1961           The National Defense Education Act produced funds for curriculum development                     and graduate student support.

1972           During the final years of the Vietnam conflict, state and federal funding was reduced                     to area studies and efforts were refocused on graduate fellowships and support of                     language instruction.

1993           The Center was name Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies and                     became a member of the new International Institute, which sought to foster links                     with professional schools and seek alternative perspectives.