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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Center for Middle East Studies


Welcome to the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies. CMES is an interdisciplinary institution dedicated to the study of Middle Eastern politics, history, and culture. We seek to engage the University of Denver community and broader public in informed discussion on topics of regional importance in an effort to deepen understanding of this critical region of the world.

To join the discussion and learn about upcoming events and publications, please subscribe to our Email List by contacting us at We hope to see and hear from you! 

Annual Conference: What Went Wrong? Egypt's Failed Democratic Transition

Protesters in egyptThe Center for Middle East Studies presents a daylong conference examining Egypt's failed democratic transition.

  • Friday, Sept. 12, 2014
  • Panel Discussions: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. | Location: Anderson Academic Commons Special Events Room
  • Screening of Jehane Noujaim's Documentary Film The Square Followed by a Panel Discussion & Open Forum: 7 - 10 p.m. | Location: Margery Reed Building Reiman Theater

For more information, visit the Josef Korbel School website

recent events

A Conversation with Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Center for Middle East Studies was proud to host a video conference with Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Islamic Republic of Iran, on February 18 at 12:00 PM in the Anderson Academic Commons Special Events Space. The event, which marked the first direct communication between Minister Zarif and an American public audience, was moderated by Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Dr. Zarif discussed the current contours of US-Iranian relations with Dean Hill via video conference from Vienna, Austria, where he was working with Secretary of State John Kerry on finalizing a deal regarding Iran's nuclear program.
Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prior to assuming that post in August 2013, Dr. Zarif served as Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (2002-2007) and Iran's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992-2002). In addition to his distinguished diplomatic career, Dr. Zarif is a proud University of Denver alumnus, earning both his MA and PhD in International Studies from DU's Graduate School of International Studies (now the Josef Korbel School) in 1984 and 1988, respectively.


CMES Director & Associate Director Published in New York Times Op/Ed Pages on Syria

Syria OpEdCMES Director Nader Hashemi and Associate Director Danny Postel published an opinion piece in the February 11 edition of the New York Times, entitled, "Use Force to Save Starving Syrians." In the article, Hashemi and Postel advocate the use of force - under the Responsibility to Protect doctrine - against the Assad regime and radical rebel groups that block humanitarian relief efforts in areas of Syria still under siege and deny relief workers access to those civilians most in need. 

They write, "Using force to prevent starvation will not immediately resolve the crisis in Syria. It will, however, make a qualitative difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians. It will also send a clear message to the Syrian regime and the extremist militias: The international community, after three years of watching this moral and humanitarian catastrophe unfold from the sidelines, is finally prepared to act." Read the rest of the op/ed here.


Debate on Islamism & Liberalism in Egypt Initiated at DU Hits Pages of Boston Review

Boston Review CoverWe're happy to announce that both the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Center for Middle East Studies are featured prominently in the current issue of  Boston Review . The cover story of the issue, "What Killed Egyptian Democracy?" by University of Toronto Law Professor Mohammad Fadel, and its subsequent print responses grew out of debates surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood, the July 2013 coup, Islamism, and Liberalism begun here at DU when Prof. Fadel visited as a guest speaker last September--you can watch his full lecture here or his ten-minute interview with Associate Director Danny Postel here. In fact, one of the featured respondents to Prof. Fadel's piece is Korbel's own Micheline Ishay, Professor of International Studies and an Affiliate Faculty member of CMES! 



Recently Published: The Syria Dilemma 

Syria Dilemma The Center for Middle East Studies is thrilled to announce the publication of its first book, The Syria Dilemma, edited by CMES Director Nader Hashemi and Associate Director Danny Postel. The book, named one of the best books of 2013 by The Progressive magazine, is available for purchase from MIT Press and Instructors wishing to obtain an examination copy should contact Michelle Pullano at MIT Press:

MIT Press writes, "This book focuses on the ethical and political dilemmas at the heart of the debate about Syria and the possibility of humanitarian intervention in today's world. The contributors - Syria experts, international relations theorists, human rights activists, and scholars of humanitarian intervention - don't always agree, but together they represent the best political thinking on the issue." For more on the book, including editor biographies and contributor information, visit MIT Press.