In Marburg, the Middle East has been an academic field of research for 125 years; several generations of academic staff have worked on and in the region. Founded in 2006, the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) is continuing this tradition, bringing together all the academic research on the Near and Middle East, past and present, in Hesse at the Philipps University of Marburg. Generously equipped 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, further diversifying its research projects. Research is conducted both on contemporary issues in the political, social and economic sphere and on historical topics within cultural and linguistic studies.
The center views itself as an interdisciplinary institution for both teaching and research with an international and social role. It highly values its collaboration with civil society. Newly generated research results constitute an integral part of the teaching curriculum and are published on a larger scale for the general public through a 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.
The center also emphasizes its international role in its teaching: 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 an immersive year of study to improve both language skills and intercultural skills and to acquire first-hand knowledge of the region and its history and current setting. Our partner universities are located in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Maghreb, Syria, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Turkey (collaboration with the universities in Baghdad and Damascus is dormant right now due to current circumstances). Staff exchange figures are also high: there is a continuous exchange of teaching staff with most of the above-mentioned partners.
Goals and objectives
• The focus of research at the center is on cultural and social science topics as well as basic research in linguistic matters, pursuing projects on an interdisciplinary level with international collaboration.
• The center’s teaching strategy adds historical depth to contemporary subjects and stimulates active language acquisition in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish as well as the old languages, such as Sumerian, Akkadian, Amharic, etc. It aims at developing skills in methodology and interdisciplinary work while also encouraging intercultural and soft skills through international exposure and practical experience.
• As an interface between academia, civil society, the public and politics, the center accepts its “third mission” as a forum for dialogue and collaboration.
• The center’s library contains references to all the center’s fields of research.