The Middle East Insitute - Columbia University



The Middle East Institute
Columbia University
Phone: 212-854-2584
Fax: 212-854-1413
606 West 122 Street
Knox Hall - Third Floor
New York, New York 10027
Mail Code 9640

The Middle East Institute of Columbia University, founded in 1954, has helped to set the national pace in developing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present, with a primary focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Fostering an inter-regional and multi-disciplinary approach to the region, the Institute focuses on the Arab countries, Armenia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Central Asia, and Muslim Diaspora communities.


Brinkley Messick - Director, Middle East Institute

Astrid Benedek - Associate Director

Roxanne Moin-Safa - Events Coordinator

Course Offerings

For information on Middle Eastern languages contact the Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) at

Middle East Concentration/Certificate

Regional Specialization in Middle East Studies (open only to SIPA students)

    MIA degree candidates who wish to obtain a specialization in the Middle East without seeking an Institute certificate will draw up a program with the help of the Institute's Associate Director. For such a specialization, 3 courses (9 points) will be required, of which three points must be earned through a colloquium or a seminar.
Certificate in Middle East Studies (open to students at all graduate divisions)
    To satisfy the requirements for the certificate, the candidate must select a program of study that provides a broad knowledge of the Middle East, together with a specialized knowledge of a sub-cultural area (the Arab states, Armenia, Central Asia, Iran, Israel, or Turkey) and its principal language. In addition, students admitted to degree candidacy in a department or professional school of the University must fulfill the requirements for an advanced degree in that department or school.

    The certificate candidate draws up a program with the approval of the Institute’s Associate Director. Programs vary, depending on the degree of the candidate's previous preparation, and the department or school in which the candidate chooses to earn an advanced degree.

    Courses: Each candidate must complete 24 points of course work as follows:

    Two region-wide courses (lecture or colloquium) one in history and one in political science (6 points);

    Four other lecture courses or colloquia selected from three different disciplines (12 points);

    Two seminars or colloquia (6 points);

    In addition to seminars and colloquia specifically listed for Institute credit, candidates, with the approval of the director, may count one seminar or colloquium not primarily on the Middle East only if the candidate's work in the course was concentrated on the Middle East.

    Language Requirement: The language requirement is satisfied in full once the certificate candidate has demonstrated proficiency in at least one of the major area languages equivalent to three years of university instruction. A certificate candidate who comes equipped with such proficiency in one of the major languages is encouraged to study a second. Native speakers of one Middle Eastern language must take at least one year of a second area language or demonstrate equivalent proficiency.


The Institute sponsors approximately 30 lunch-time talks per year on topics ranging from art and literature to current events, hosts conferences, and provides a neutral atmosphere for scholarly and student exchanges of views on issues concerning the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. It offers courses and outreach seminars to teachers and adult education groups, briefs journalists, and generally acts as a clearing-house for requests for information on the region and its peoples by the media, educational professionals, and the interested public, drawing upon the expertise of its own staff and the multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural faculty of the School of International and Public Affairs and Columbia University.

+ Events - SPRING 2016

+ Events - FALL 2015

+ Events - SPRING 2015

+ Events - FALL 2014

+ Events - SPRING 2014

+ Events - FALL 2013

+ Events - SPRING 2013

+ Events - FALL 2012

+ Events - SPRING 2012

+ Events - FALL 2011

+ Events - SPRING 2011

+ Events - FALL 2010

+ Events - SPRING 2010

+ Events - FALL 2009

+ Events - SPRING 2009

+ Events - FALL 2008

+ Events - SPRING 2008

+ Events - FALL 2007

+ Events - SPRING 2007

+ Events - FALL 2006

+ Events - SPRING 2006

+ Events - FALL 2005

+ Events - SPRING 2005

+ Events - FALL 2004

+ Events - SPRING 2004

+ Events - FALL 2003

+ Events - SPRING 2003

+ Events - FAll 2002

+ Events - SPRING 2002

+ Events - FAll 2001

+ Events - SPRING 2001

+ Events - WINTER 2001

+ Events - FAll 2000

  Return to Top

General questions about the institute? E-mail:
Phone: 212-854-2584

© 2013 The Middle East Institute. All Rights Reserved