MENA Research Network

Contemporary MENA Research Network

The Contemporary MENA research network is part of the Swiss society for the Middle East and Islamic cultures (SGMOIK-SSMOCI). In spite of this, the network remains responsible for its own activities.

Established at the beginning of 2014 by a group of academics, this informal network brings together Switzerland-based researchers interested in sharing or discussing research, journalism, and art related to the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Most members are social scientists, but the network also includes filmmakers, journalists and other professionals. In one way or another, we are seeking new ways of thinking and speaking about the contemporary interconnectedness of MENA and European countries in light of the global economy and migration.

Mailing list
The mailing list is open to anyone who wishes to be part of the network. To subscribe to our mailing list or to propose initiatives and ideas, please send an email to Sarah Sabry ( or Emanuel Schaeublin ( While we encourage you to become a member of SGMOIK, it is not a pre-requisite for joining the network.

We organize regular events. These include:

  • Social events (to get to know each other)
  • Film screenings
  • Work in progress seminars (to present ongoing work and get feedback from an informed group)
  • Thematic conversations (to meet and discuss themes, such as the situation in a specific country or issues of theoretical relevance, e.g. how to deal with analytical categories such as ‘politics’, ‘religion’, or ‘the market’ in research on the contemporary MENA countries).
  • Fieldwork seminars (to meet researchers going to conduct or returning from field research in MENA countries and share experiences)

Images in the MENA Network section of this website by Jonas Opperskalski

Sources and platforms

The following links lead to online sources of information dealing with the contemporary situation of different MENA countries:

Muftah (Muftah was launched in May 2010 to provide English-speaking audiences with incisive analysis on countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that eschewed the Western media’s focus on terrorism, oil, and Islamism, and highlighted the complex factors that shape and influence regional countries and populations.)

Jadaliyya (A rich website seeking to offer 'a unique source of insight and critical analysis that combines local knowledge, scholarship, and advocacy with an eye to audiences in the United States, the Middle East and beyond')

The Arabist (A blog launched 'partly as response to the the lack of interest in the domestic politics of Arab countries in much Western media')

Al-Monitor (Background analysis on a range of MENA countries)

The Middle East Research and Information Project (established in 1971 and still going)

esense GmbH