Middle East Studies minor

Middle East Studies (MES) focuses on the global region stretching east-west from Morocco to Oman, and north-south from Turkey to Sudan. It encompasses the geographic region, its diverse cultures, and its history to the present.

The history and art of this region helped build modern Western civilization and the area today is central to issues of global peace and prosperity.

Decorative design.

Our Program

MES Program Coordinator
Professor Chad Lingwood

D-1-112 Mackinac Hall


[email protected]

Why Study the Middle East?

Courses in the MES minor introduce students to the "heritage, problems and perspectives" of Middle Eastern cultures, helping them better understand their own culture. Michigan, for example, is home to the nation's largest Arab American community. Students come from anthropology, business, communications, geography, history, and international relations - indeed, from all those disciplines where there is increasing interest in the non-Western world. For example, for aspiring teachers, knowledge of Islamic civilization provides tools for understanding - and teaching about - areas far removed from the Middle East, such as South Asia, Indonesia and sub-Saharan Africa. Among the many local firms with Middle East trade links, business majors who can demonstrate some understanding of regional customs, cultural practices and language, can gain advantage.

The MES program prepares students for a variety of career options, including those in:

  • Education
  • Government and diplomacy
  • International business
  • International relations
  • Non-governmental organizations

The State & National Model Arab League


MES minor students are encouraged to participate in the Model Arab League simulation, held each February. It is the cornerstone of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations' youth development program and provides the opportunity to debate real-world issues with like-minded students.

GVSU's Middle East Studies program has hosted the Michigan collegiate-level Model Arab League for many years, growing it to become one of the largest in the country. Students who participate in the state-level Model Arab League are also eligible to attend the National Model Arab League in Washington, D.C. each spring.

Students can join the Model Arab League by signing up for MES 370: Contemporary Issues in the Middle East, offered each winter semester.

Upcoming in Middle East Studies

Event Calendar

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Students, faculty and guests of the GVSU EMBA tour Krakow on June 9, 2024.

Executive MBA students visit Poland, the Netherlands, celebrate one of GVSU's oldest international partnerships

Trip marked 50 years of partnership with Krakow University of Economics, included business and cultural visits

Jun 20, 2024

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GVSU hosts Juneteenth Jubilee Breakfast at the start of Juneteenth celebrations

Juneteenth celebrations at GVSU began early on June 19 at the second annual Juneteenth Jubilee breakfast.

Jun 19, 2024

Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity, addresses the crowd at the 2023 Juneteenth event.

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The GVSU community is invited to attend the second annual Juneteenth Jubilee breakfast, as well as participate in a variety of local GVSU-sponsored events.

Jun 14, 2024

William Pickard at left seated in chair, rows of students listening in the Multicultural Affairs office

GVSU community remembers life of Bill Pickard, former board of trustee member

Detroit business mogul and GVSU supporter William Pickard died June 12 at age 83.

Jun 14, 2024

three people standing in front of building at the University of Ostrava

Music professor is link to Grand Valley's newest international partnership

Music professor Marlen Vavrikova grew up in Czechia and helped facilitate the exchange between GVSU and the University of Ostrava.

Jun 10, 2024

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Page last modified August 10, 2023