It is an honor to succeed Prof. Mehrzad Boroujerdi as the director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program. Prof. Boroujerdi, the founding director of the MESP, was a resourceful and inspirational leader. He left behind a well-founded program that over a relatively short period of time has rightfully earned its place among the leading Middle Eastern Studies programs in the nation. The MESP has achieved so much over the last eleven years. Yet, there is still much to be done in order to accomplish our collective mission to turn the MESP into a world-renowned Title VI resource center. I am confident that with the commitment and support of faculty, students, alumni, friends, and the university administration we can achieve our goal within a decade.

With this particular long-term goal in mind, during my term as the director, I plan to make some structural changes in the program in order to strengthen our operational capacity, and create a more streamlined and effec-tive program. In the process, I also hope to work with the faculty in order to assess our curricular needs, revise and expand our current offerings, and improve student experience with a focus on learning objectives.

We are a community of students, teachers, and scholars with a keen interest in advancing human knowledge of Middle Eastern cultures, languages, history, arts, geography, and politics. In this respect, one of my priorities will be to increase the support for student and faculty research and create the necessary environment for fostering faculty-student collaboration beyond the classroom. Likewise, I would like to expand our current support for Study Abroad programs. I envision a day when every SU student majoring or minoring in Middle Eastern Studies would spend at least a summer in the region studying and learning about these beautiful cultures and languages.

We are going through difficult times in the Middle East. The news that brings the region into our living rooms every night is heartbreaking, horrifying, and saddening. Perhaps there is a greater need today than at any other time in history to inform and educate the public about the cultures, politics, and history of the region. I believe that the MESP at Syracuse University should continue to play an important role in educating the general public through various events and activities as it has done in the past. I will double our efforts to reach out to and partner with local associations, communities, organizations, K-12 schools, and government to co-sponsor and organize events and activities that contribute to a better understanding of the peoples and cultures of Middle East.

I  realize  that  these  are  ambitious  goals.  However,  I  have  utmost  confidence  in  the  ability  of  our  faculty,  students, and staff to achieve them. I also trust that our alumni and friends who supported the program in the past  through  their  time,  efforts,  and  generous  contributions  to  the  MESP  will  continue  to  do  so  in  the  years  to  come. I hereby invite the friends of Middle Eastern Studies Program at Syracuse University to consider making a tax-deductible  contribution  at  (please  designate  “MESP”  as  the  recipient  in  the comment box). I thank you for your continuing support and look forward to working with each and every one of you in this new and challenging, but exciting, role.