2009 Conference Wrap-Up

October 22-24 marked the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa’s (ASMEA) two-year anniversary with a successful annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Entitled, The Middle East and Africa: Historic Connections and Strategic Bridges, the conference featured presentations and roundtables that sought to demonstrate the inter-relationships between the two regions over time with special emphasis on the historical, political, economic, religious, security and cultural links between them.

The forty-three academic papers presented at the conference—over twice the amount of presentations as the inaugural conference in 2008—reflect the Association’s rapid growth.  They also reflect the multi-disciplinary scope of ASMEA, as scholars from a variety of backgrounds—including Middle East studies, political science, history, religious studies, criminal justice and law among others—presented their research.  Their papers are all in the running to be published as articles in our forthcoming journal, The Journal of the Middle East and Africa, which will begin publication next year.

ASMEA Chairman Bernard Lewis gave a stimulating keynote speech that sought to clarify what he deemed the “incredible amount of misunderstanding and misinformation in circulation” about Iran.  Professor Lewis analyzed Iranian history from the Arab conquest of the 7th Century to the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and eloquently demonstrated the collective impact of diverse elements in Iranian history on the present.

The 2009 annual conference also featured special presentations from John Bolton, Former United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Gerard Prunier, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris; and Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, the authors of the award-winning book Foxbats Over Dimona: The Soviets’ Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War.

Additionally, this year’s conference included an important panel sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps University (MCU). ASMEA believes it is imperative to share research with elements of our government that seek a deeper understanding about our regions and this panel was representative of the Association’s outreach efforts in that regard.

Summaries of the papers presented at ASMEA’s 2009 annual conference can be accessed here.

All post-conference papers submitted will receive consideration for the inaugural edition of ASMEA’s journal, The Journal of the Middle East and Africa. Please continue to check our website for information on the journal and future events.