The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) was founded in 1954 for the purpose of furthering the study of the Middle East at Harvard University. This mandate features a primary emphasis on the centuries since the rise of Islam and a concern with the wider Islamic world. CMES serves Harvard as the coordinating body and the primary source of support for the various courses and academic programs that cover the vast region from Morocco and North Africa to Turkey and Iran.
The Center is home to key faculty related to Middle Eastern Studies including: the Arabic Program, Turkish Studies, the Moroccan Studies Program, several ongoing research projects, and a Visiting Scholar program that brings scholars from around the world. The range of interests of our faculty, students, associates and visiting scholars is rich, varied, and crosses multiple disciplines.
Students of the Middle East benefit tremendously from the Middle East Division collection of the Widener Library. The Middle Eastern Division collects in great depth materials from the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus and from various émigré communities from these areas scattered throughout the world. These materials in the languages of these areas and in languages used by émigré communities include books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, posters, broadsides, photographs, microforms, sound recordings, videotapes, and electronic databases. The collection is further supported by an extensive collection of materials published about the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus outside of these geographic areas.
Resources in Widener also include an extensive collection of titles in Western languages, which are further enhanced by significant holdings both in Middle Eastern and Western languages at other Harvard libraries. The Outreach Center at CMES also has an extensive collection of books and DVDs for use by K-16 educators and the general public.