Portland-State-University 2021-2022 Bulletin

Middle East Studies Center

Director: Lindsay Benstead, PhD

Outreach Coordinator: Corinne Hughes


Karl Miller Center, 660R


The mission of the Middle East Studies Center (MESC) is to serve our students, city, and world through the creation of a diverse, inclusive community and the promotion and sharing of scholarship on the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. The Center was created in 1959 as one of the first two federally supported undergraduate program for Arabic language and Middle East area studies in the nation. Over the years, the university expanded to offer courses and programs in the four major Middle Eastern languages including Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish and programs across different academic disciplines such as International and Global Studies, Political Science, Sociology, History, and Business.

Middle East studies at Portland State boasts a distinguished faculty and vast library resources. The Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. In addition, the Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, and lectures and provides support to area elementary and high school teachers and community college instructors.

The Center's core responsibilities are to coordinate and promote academic and outreach activities across the university and beyond, including conferences, speakers, and training programs for area students, teachers, faculty, and community members. The Center further seeks to guide and train students who plan to make a career in this field. To support these initiatives, MESC closely works with academic and administrative units across campus. As an outgrowth of these core responsibilities, it also conducts outreach activities with local, national, and international educational and community organizations.

Middle East-related degree programs at PSU include:

-Certificate in Middle East Studies

-Certificate in Global Studies

-Major or Minor in Middle East Language with programs in Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew.*

Please take a look at the various activities of our center on our web page and consider becoming a friend of MESC.

PSU does not currently offer Turkish language courses or the Minor in Turkish. Turkish literature courses may be available.