In the 1950s, a constellation of philanthropic foundations, multinational corporations, interested scholars, and the U.S. government established the first Middle East Studies Centers to improve national security. But these centers quickly attracted controversy. Some were concerned with foreign influence at Georgetown's center in the 1970s. These concerns again flared post-9/11 with massive Saudi funds going to some of the most elite universities in the country. And as recently as 2019, the Department of Education accused the North Carolina Consortium of misusing federal funds to teach materials outside of the intended national security purpose.
Our new report Hijacked: The Capture of America's Middle East Studies Centers provides seven case studies on universities with Middle East/Islamic Studies centers and uncovers trends in what these centers have promoted over the past 20 years.
The launch event features Neetu Arnold, Senior Research Associate at the National Association of Scholars and author of Hijacked; Martin Kramer, Walter P. Stern Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Winfield Myers, Director of Academic Affairs for the Middle East Forum.
The discussion is moderated by David Randall, Director of Research at the National Association of Scholars.
Image by Beck & Stone