The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies

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The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies
The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies - logo.png
FounderLeila Fawaz
TypeAcademic organization
FieldsRegional studies of the Eastern Mediterranean
Nadim Shehadi
Parent organization
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Coordinates: 42°24′28″N 71°07′18″W / 42.407662°N 71.12169°W / 42.407662; -71.12169

The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies is an interdisciplinary education and research organization founded in 2001, devoted to the regional study of the Eastern Mediterranean within greater Middle East. The Center is part of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, at Tufts University.[1][2][3][4] Its aim is the study and understanding the heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean and the challenges it faces in the twenty-first century,[4] being at the crossroads between the academic and policy world.[1]


The founding director defined the goal of the center as the pursuit of a cross-regional and cross-cultural analysis,[4] fostering the encounter of a diversity of viewpoints, with the belief that a broad diversity of views serves as an effective means of conflict resolution.[1][4] The center aims to foster greater understanding of the Middle East to students, notably through studying relationships between the groups involved in Middle Eastern conflicts.[1][2][3][4]

Initially the regional focus was on Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, and the neighboring countries of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Turkey.[5] Later on the focus was broadened to also include other countries in the greater Middle East and North Africa regions.[4]

The center hosts scholars conducting research and offering courses on the region.[6] Fares also serves as a forum, organizing events such as conferences,[7][8][9] for the discussion of policy issues from an international perspective, welcoming both for scholars within the school as well as reaching out to guest speakers.[4][10][11] The center includes numerous events organized by the school's Mediterranean Club.[1]

The Center has served as the organizer of the Issam M. Fares Lecture series,[12] a renowned forum endowed by the Fares' foundations since 1993 and attended by thousands of students.[13][14] Past notable speakers included former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair; former President of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing;[4] former U.S. Secretaries of State James Baker, Madeleine Albright,[4] Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton; and former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.[1][14][15]


The Fares Center was established in 2001 with the financial support of Issam M. Fares, a Lebanese businessman, deputy prime minister of Lebanon, Tufts trustee emeritus, and a member of Tufts’ International Board of Overseers and the Board of Overseers for Arts & Sciences.[4][14][15] The dedication of the Center took place in March 2002, with President Bill Clinton speaking at the event.[13]

Leila Fawaz was the founding director of the Center, from 2001 to 2012. Nadim Shehadi succeeded her taking over in 2015.[1] Before Vali Nasr became dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 2012, he held the position of associate director at the Fares Center.[16][17]

It was reported in 2002 that the Center had acquired a ceramic photo mural from the Arab American female artist Wasma'a Khalid Chorbachi. The artwork is displayed by the entrance of the center.[18]


Leila Fawaz (2001-2012)[edit]

The founding director of the Center was Leila Fawaz, who remained in that position until 2012.[1] Fawaz was born in Sudan to Greek-Orthodox Lebanese parents and raised in Lebanon. She took two degrees at the American University of Beirut between 1967 and 1968 and pursued graduate studies in history at Harvard between 1972 and 1979.[19][19][20]

She became a member of the Tufts faculty in 1979, and became a full professor in 1994. She chaired the History Department from 1994 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001, she served as dean of arts and humanities and as associate dean of the faculty.[20] At Tufts Fawaz became the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies, where she also held appointments as professor of diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and as professor of history.[19][20][21][22]

From 1990 to 1994 she Fawaz was the editor-in-chief of The International Journal of Middle East Studies, there she advanced the notion of conducting analytical and comparative research, with an international and cross-disciplinary approach.[23] She bemoaned the overspecialization within the field, the neglect of attention to humanities/arts and, uninteresting writing, and linked these problems to Middle East studies as a whole, because researchers were "still a long way from being pathfinders in the world of scholarship generally."[20][21][23]

Fawaz also served on the editorial board of The American Historical Review.[20] A former president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Comité Scientifique of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme at the Université de Provence.[20] Fawaz served on the board of overseers of Harvard University from 1996 to 2012.[20][21]

In 2012 She was named a "chevalier" in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor. She was honored for her "exemplary personal commitment to French-American relations" and for her efforts to promote French academic research and thought at prestigious American universities."[21]

Nadim Shehadi (2015-present)[edit]

In 2015 Nadim Shehadi was appointed the second director of the Fares Center.[1][24][25] Shehadi trained as an economist with an interest in the history of economic thought.[26] He served as the director of Lebanese studies at St Antony's College, Oxford, where he was director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies from 1986 to 2005,[26] and worked for the European Union writing foreign policy and creating strategies for relations with the Middle East and North Africa. At the time of his appointment, Shehadi stated his intent to continue to serve as an associate fellow of the London-based think tank Chatham House, where he is the director of a program focused on Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.[1][24][27]

At the time of Shehadi's appointment, Fletcher's Academic Dean Ian Johnstone stated that Shehadi's experience directing research programs, working as a policymaker and advisor, and as a commentator for various media outlets, made him a good choice for the role, adding that “Fletcher prides itself on multidisciplinary research, and the Fares Center is a microcosm for that”.[1]

Faculty Associated with the Center[edit]

Select Publications[edit]


  • Warde, Ibrahim (2007). The Price of Fear: The Truth Behind the Financial War on Terror. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520253704.
  • Nasr, Vali (April 17, 2007). The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393329681.
  • Hoffman, Eva R., ed. (April 23, 2007). Late Antique and Medieval Art of the Mediterranean. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405120722.
  • Mansour, Camille; Fawaz, Leila, eds. (May 15, 2009). Transformed Landscapes: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi. The American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 978-9774162473.
  • Manz, Beatrice Forbes (June 2010). Power, Politics and Religion in Timurid Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521153461.
  • Nasr, Vali (June 8, 2010). The Rise of Islamic Capitalism: Why the New Muslim Middle Class Is the Key to Defeating Extremism. Council on Foreign Relations Books. ISBN 978-1416589693.
  • Fawaz, Leila Tarazi (November 17, 2014). A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674735491.

Lighting the path to understanding series[edit]

The Fares Center has organized an annual conference after which it has compiled its participants' contributions, and published a report within the series Lighting the path to understanding. Below is a list of these publications.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Pomerance, Aaron (Jan 16, 2015). "Nadim Shehadi selected as new Fares Center director". The Tufts Daily. p. 1. Archived from the original on Jun 8, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Clement, Richard W. (2012). "The Mediterranean: What, Why, and How". Mediterranean Studies. Penn State University Press. 20 (1): 114–120. doi:10.5325/mediterraneanstu.20.1.0114. JSTOR 10.5325/mediterraneanstu.20.1.0114.
  3. ^ a b Shadid, Anthony (Feb 26, 2002). "US boosts funds for strategic language study". Boston Globe. p. A.1.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "About The Fares Center". Medford, MA: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 2015. Archived from the original on Jun 8, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "Mission Statement" (PDF). PHAROS - the Newsletter of Fares Center at Tufts University. Medford, MA: The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. 1: 12. Fall 2002. Archived from the original on Jun 10, 2010. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Richinick, Michele (Feb 14, 2011). "Optimism over Egypt-Israel pact: Local Jews hopeful about survival of '79 peace treaty". Boston Globe. p. B.1. Archived from the original on Jun 15, 2015. Retrieved Jun 15, 2015.
  7. ^ Khouri, Rami G. (January 31, 2007). "Injecting sense into the terrorism debate". The Daily Star. Lebanon. Archived from the original on Jun 17, 2015. Retrieved Jun 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Khouri, Rami G. (October 20, 2010). "We reap a common harvest of hatred". The Daily Star. Lebanon. Archived from the original on Jun 17, 2015. Retrieved Jun 17, 2015.
  9. ^ "Tufts U.: Tufts U. prof opens Middle East conference". U-Wire. USA. January 30, 2006.
  10. ^ Schaeffer-Duffy, Claire (Jan 2010). "Daughters Tell their Mothers' Stories". The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. 29 (1): 46–47. Archived from the original on Jun 8, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  11. ^ Forum Staff (April 2, 2015). "The UN's man in Baghdad: A Conversation with Nickolay Mladenov". The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. Archived from the original on Jun 8, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  12. ^ Rugh, William A. (2003). "IRAQ, U.S., AND THE WAR ON TERROR: Perceptions in the Arab World and Debates in Washington: Analyzing U.S. Mideast Policy After September 11". The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs. 27 (Winter/Spring): 47. Retrieved Jun 15, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Clinton speaks to crowd of 5,700 at Tufts". Associated Press. Nov 7, 2011. Archived from the original on Nov 9, 2011. Retrieved Jun 16, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Schwartz, Penny (November 25, 2004). "Sen. Clinton to President Bush: Reengage; With Arafat on deathbed, Clinton does not spare any criticism of Palestinian leader". The Jewish Advocate. Boston: The Jewish Advocate. 195 (43): 2. ISSN 1077-2995.
  15. ^ a b Risen, James (January 9, 2001). "Lebanese Politician Paid for a Powell Speech". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved Jun 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "About Us: Associate Directors". Medford, MA: The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  17. ^ O'Shea, Dennis (March 27, 2012). "Vali Nasr named dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS - Middle East scholar, foreign policy adviser to lead university's international studies school". The JHU Gazette. Retrieved Jun 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Temin, Christine (Aug 31, 2002). "Shaped by Islam and art of Wasma'a Khalid Chorbachi combines ceramnics, calligraphy, and a touch of her faith". Boston Globe. p. C.1.
  19. ^ a b c Anonymous (Feb 19, 2011). "AUB alumnus elected head of Harvard Board of Overseers". Tribune Business News. Washington.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g "Fawaz, Shapiro to lead Harvard Overseers for 2011-12". Harvard Gazette. Feb 17, 2011. Archived from the original on Jun 8, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c d "Tufts University Professor Earns France's Legion of Honor". Women in Academia Report. Aug 1, 2012. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  22. ^ Abraham, Yvonne (May 24, 2006). "Lebanese-Americans scoff at explanation of behavior". Boston Globe. p. A.4. Archived from the original on Jul 1, 2007. Retrieved Jun 15, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Tucker, Judith E; El-Affendi, Abdelwahab (Aug 2008). "Excerpt from "Studying my movement: Social science without cynicism"". The International Journal of Middle East Studies. 40 (3): 359–368. doi:10.1017/S0020743808080926. JSTOR 40205956.
  24. ^ a b Murdock, Heather (Jan 21, 2015). "Strike on Hezbollah Raises Fears Over Iran's Role in Middle East". Voice of America. Archived from the original on Jan 22, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  25. ^ Yeranian, Edward (June 2, 2015). "Intense Airstrikes Pound Syria's Aleppo Region". Voice of America. Archived from the original on Jun 15, 2015. Retrieved Jun 15, 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Nadim Shehadi". London: Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. 2015. Archived from the original on Jun 8, 2015. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  27. ^ Knutsen, Elise (April 28, 2015). "With Ghazaleh death, more secrets in the grave". The Daily Star. Lebanon. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  28. ^ "Publications". Medford, MA: Tufts University. 2012. Archived from the original on Feb 6, 2012. Retrieved Jun 15, 2015.

External links[edit]