About Us

Statue with the CMES logo

The CMES promotes the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East on the University of California, Berkeley, campus and beyond, while privileging no single country, topic, or political position. From colloquia and conferences, to grant and research programs, to lecture and film series, we organize a wide variety of academic opportunities and extracurricular activities. Feel free to explore our website and join our mailing list for the latest updates on events and programs. More


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Faculty News

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Nezar AlSayyad

Prof. Nezar AlSayyad, Departments of Architecture and City and Regional Planning and Chair of the CMES, had an active spring semester. In early March, he traveled to the United Arab Emirates to address the Ajman International Conference for Urban Planning, for which he delivered a keynote lecture titled “Fundamentalism and the Arab Spring.” In late March, he traveled to Hawaii, where he co-organized an Islamic Architectural History Ph.D. Dissertation Workshop with the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. The workshop was sponsored by the Doris Duke Foundation and held at Shangri La, the Doris Duke mansion in Honolulu. In April, Prof. AlSayyad traveled to Doha, Qatar to deliver the closing keynote address at the conference “Navigating the Tides: Urban Transformations in the Arab World,” organized by the Yale Alumni Association and the American University in Beirut. In June, he traveled to Kuwait, where he met officials of Kuwait University, the Kuwait Economic Development fund, and the Abdel Aziz Al-Babtain library to discuss cooperation between Kuwait and UC Berkeley.

Benjamin Brinner

Prof. Benjamin Brinner, Chair, Ethnomusicology, was a 2012–13 distinguished lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he gave a public lecture titled “Perspectives on the ‘inter’ in Intercultural: Israeli/Arab/Palestinian/Jewish Musical Collaborations.” Prof. Brinner also delivered the keynote address at the conference “Common Ground: Dialogue between Jewish and Islamic Worlds through Art” at the University of Virginia in March 2013. In April, he presented a lecture, “Sounding Common Ground: Musicking in Israel,” at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at a colloquium that was jointly sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Music.

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