Middle East Studies Centers Captured by Activists, Report Finds

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; October 6, 2022 – Middle East Studies Centers (MESC) have strayed from their mission to objectively study the Middle East and Islam, a new report from the National Association of Scholars (NAS) concludes. MESCs, which have received funds from the U.S. federal government, foreign nations, and donors, are overrun by activist faculty.

Hijacked: The Capture of America’s Middle East Studies Centers documents the history of MESCs and the financial arrangements that allow foreign donations to flow to American universities. America’s MESCs were originally founded to study the politics, culture, and language of Middle Eastern nations. But our analyses and case studies demonstrate that Middle East centers have since shifted their focus to promoting left-wing ideologies.

“Middle East Studies Centers today play fast and loose with objective truth,” said Neetu Arnold. “They instead focus on activism promoting anti-Western narratives and even push critical theory to K–12 educators.”

There are more than fifty MESCs at American universities. Of these, eleven are designated National Resource Centers (NRC), a special designation that allows an MESC to receive federal funds. Our report includes case studies on both federally funded NRCs and privately funded centers.

The report offers several recommendations to reform Middle East Studies Centers. These include subjecting public university foundations to Freedom of Information Act requests, strengthening and enforcing foreign gift reporting requirements, and ensuring university contracts with foreign nations are publicly accessible. We also recommend cutting federal funding of Middle East NRCs.

“The bias of these centers has been documented for years,” Neetu continued. “It’s time for taxpayers to be taken off the hook for these activist centers.”

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org.


If you would like more information about this issue, please contact Neetu Arnold at [email protected].

  • Share

Most Commented

February 13, 2024


The Great Academic Divorce with China

All signs show that American education is beginning a long and painful divorce with the People’s Republic of China. But will academia go through with it?...

January 24, 2024


After Claudine

The idea has caught on that the radical left overplayed its hand in DEI and is now vulnerable to those of us who seek major reforms. This is not, however, the first time that the a......

February 2, 2024


Tribalism or Individualism?

The most immediate work of conservatives must be the rejection of tribalism and a refocus on the individual—individual character, industry, and aptitude....

Most Read

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010


Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

September 21, 2010


Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers....