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In Marburg, the Middle East has been an academic field of research since 125 years; several generations of academic staff have worked on and in the region. The Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), founded in the year 2006, continues this tradition and brings together all the academic research on the Near and Middle East, past and present, in Hesse at Philipps-Universität Marburg. Equipped generously with seven professorial chairs and an innovative infrastructure within a renovated historic building, the CNMS-staff engages in a variety of research such as contemporary social and economic studies as well as philology, history, and Islamic and cultural studies. In the past decade, the Center has succeeded in obtaining generous funding for its projects and has further diversified its research projects. Research is made both on contemporary issues in the political, social and economic sphere but also on historical topics within the cultural and linguistic studies.

The Center views itself as an interdisciplinary institution of both teaching and research with an international and social role. It values highly its collaboration with civil society. Newly generated research results constitute an integral part of the teaching curricula and are made available on a larger scale for a broad public through series of lectures, conferences, and workshops. International exchange programs, summer schools, and educational trips to the region contribute to the visibility of the Center’s research agenda.

Also, in its teaching, the Center emphasizes its international role: Through institutional ties with Arab, Iranian and Turkish partner universities, a broad network for student exchange has been established. Third year students are sent abroad for a study year of immersion to improve both language skills and intercultural competence and to acquire firsthand knowledge of the region and its history and current setting. Our partner universities sit in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Maghreb, Syria, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, and Turkey (the collaboration with the universities in Baghdad and Damascus is dormant right now, due to current circumstances). Also exchange on staff level figures high: There is a continuous exchange of teaching staff with most of the above-mentioned partners.

Goals and objectives

  • The Center focuses its research on cultural and social science topics as well as on basic research in linguistic matters, pursuing its projects on an interdisciplinary level with international cooperation.
  • The Center’s teaching strategy adds historic depth to contemporary subjects; stimulates active language acquisition in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish and also the old languages such as Sumerian, Akkadian, Amharic etc; it aims at developing competence in methodology and interdisciplinary work while encouraging intercultural and soft skills through international exposure and practical experience.
  • At the interface of academia, civil society, public, and politics, the Center accepts its “third mission” as forum for dialogue and collaboration.
  • The Center’s library contains references to all of the Center’s fields of research.