Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center-
Middle East Initiative Mosaic 2016-2017
The 2016-2017 issue of the Middle East Initiative Mosaic newsletter highlights MEI programs and activities during the academic year. This year's issue features the diverse and exciting work of students, fellows, faculty, and staff on public policy issues in the Middle East, including a focus on the growing scholarly community at MEI and in-depth stories on our faculty research program, alumni connections, students' experiences from Cambridge to the Middle East, and much more!
Read the full Mosaic newsletter below.
It has been another eventful year for the Middle East Initiative (MEI), our region of interest, and the world more broadly. Although many of us feel increasingly anxious about the state of the world, MEI remains committed to providing a platform on campus to study, learn from, and engage with the region.
While we are proud to boast another banner year of programming at MEI, a fundamental objective of our work has been to provide creative ways – big and small – to humanize the Middle East. Cross-border conflicts, displaced communities, and environmental concerns constitute painful reminders of daily life for millions. Just as important are driving forces of cultural production, political change, and entrepreneurial dynamism. The Middle East is rich in its diversity of languages, cultures, histories, and present-day realities. We strive to represent that diversity in as many ways as possible.
This edition of the Mosaic showcases MEI’s work during the 2016-2017 academic year. One of the year’s highlights was MEI’s growing community on campus. Our research fellows, visiting scholars, faculty affiliates and senior fellows enriched our scholarly community and focused on a range of policy issues. As the number of research topics continued to expand, this year’s study groups focused on three areas: Globalization and its Discontents in MENA; an Interdisciplinary Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis; and Human Rights in the Arab Region.
In this issue we also celebrate 15 years of The Kuwait Program at Harvard Kennedy School, supported by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). Over the years, the Kuwait Program has grown into a rich exchange, supporting HKS student scholarships, executive education fellowships, faculty research, and a customized training program for Kuwaiti executives. The Program has also contributed to our growing scholarly community by establishing the Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar Program. We’re excited to share these highlights with you as we reflect on our shared achievements with KFAS.
MEI continues to find inspiration in our diverse student body. 19 Middle Eastern countries were represented on campus this year and we supported 58 students with travel grants to different countries in the region for research, internships, and other learning opportunities. Students remained active on campus, addressing pressing topics such as the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and organizing and mobilizing in the U.S. and in the Middle East, all while engaging with us throughout our robust series of 70 public events. A few of these students and events are featured in this issue of the Mosaic.
With immense gratitude, I would like to acknowledge our MEI core staff and faculty, visiting scholars, research fellows and supporters for a wonderful year. Whether you are a longtime supporter, a recent graduate, or are just now learning about MEI, we thank you for your enthusiastic engagement and look forward to your continued involvement in our work.
--Hilary Rantisi, Director, Middle East Initiative
Middle East Initiative Mosaic 2016-2017
Editor: Christopher Mawhorter, Communications and Events Coordinator
Designer:Andrew Facini, Publications and Design Coordinator, Belfer Center
Hilary Rantisi, Director
Julia Martin, Research and Financial Coordinator
Maura James, Student and Outreach Coordinator
With special thanks to Bennett Craig and Fatma Bucak
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