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Middle East Studies

Background & Purpose

The role of the A-State Middle East Studies Committee (MESC) is to encourage an awareness and understanding of issues and people of the Middle East. Each year, the committee awards parts of its budget, the income from an endowment given to A-State by the Saudi government, to A-State students, faculty and staff for study and/or research in the Middle East. The Committee welcomes grant applicants from all disciplines and from all A-State colleges.

Qualifying and Applying

The committee seeks proposals identifying specific areas of academic interest and a detailed plan by which the applicant will conduct the study or research. In addition, student/staff proposals must include a description of how the study will benefit the applicant and faculty proposals must include a well-defined plan of how the faculty member will disseminate the research findings. Preference will be given to applicants who have not received a grant in the past three competitions.

In order to qualify for the grant competition:

Any grant proposals which involve the study of human subjects must first have approval of the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research. The Chair of this committee is Dr. Erik Gilbert, who can be reached at egilbert@AState.edu.

  1. The applicant must be a student or full-time faculty or staff member at Arkansas State.
  2. The applicant must submit to the Committee a one page abstract of the proposal and a four-to-five page detailed narrative explaining the purpose of the study or research. The proposal should include a schedule of activities and a statement of benefits of the study (student/staff) or dissemination plan (faculty). The proposals must include on-site research in one of the designated countries of the Middle East (Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.)****
  3. The applicant should attach a budget not to exceed $5,000 (students and staff) or $7,500 (faculty). The Committee will consider proposals for a group trip (faculty member and students) with budget requests up to $12,000. The budget should include international travel, lodging, meal allowance, local transportation, cost of necessary supplies, visas and any other related costs. The grant must comply with the University and State of Arkansas travel guidelines. For assistance consult with the A-State Travel Office.
  4. Student proposals must include a letter of support from the applicant’s advisor and from another faculty member. Staff members need a letter from the applicant’s supervisor and from a second reference. Faculty members need a letter of support from their chair, director or dean and from a faculty member, whether teaching at A-State or elsewhere, who is familiar with the applicant’s research abilities.
  5. If there is an international collaborator as part of the effort, that person or institution should send written confirmation of the level of involvement and an agreement to assist in the study or research defined in the proposal. Email correspondence is acceptable.
  6. All study and research should be completed by December 31, 2020.
  7. Applicants must submit two (2) copies of the complete proposal to the Associate Dean of the College of Business by 12:00 noon Friday, February 21, 2020. Completed proposals and letters of support may be emailed to Dr. Bill Roe at broe@AState.edu or hand delivered to Room 103 in the College of Business.
  8. Applicants will be required to make a six to eight minute presentation on their proposed research to the Middle East Studies Committee to explain their proposed research and answer questions. Date to be announced.
  9. Past recipients of grants may be asked to present their research at Middle East Studies Night on Thursday, April 2, 2020 and will be asked to submit a report for the Middle East Studies Committee to review.
  10. Past recipients who are not presenting at Middle East Studies Night will be asked to have a professional poster display of their travels and research.

Important Additional Requirements

  1. The researcher must collaborate with a research or educational institution, or a community/government agency from the host country.
  2. Research activities must have academic merits and adhere to the recognized code of ethics.
  3. A-State IRB must approve the research.
  4. The researcher must obtain documentation from the local/host country IRB, if applicable. If there is no equivalent of the IRB in the host country, A-State expects the researcher to follow the recognized code of ethics.
  5. The researcher must include a letter of support and documentation from the local government agency or educational institution.
  6. The committee believes that culturally appropriate research procedures are of utmost importance for maintaining good The researcher must seek information about the local laws, customs, and gate keeps ensuring the appropriate completion of the academic research.
  7. Special attention should be given to local customs, cultural and religious norms when designing the research


The application should include the following:
  1. Description of the research project.
  2. The location and/or population of the research project
  3. A description of the agency or educational institution that support or collaborate with the researcher and the capacity of their involvement in the research.
  4. Information about the cultural issues that may impact the viability of the research, such as Ramadan or summer vacation.
  5. Information about local customs that may impact the accessibility of research materials/documentation or population.
  6. Any additional information that may impact the conclusion of the research.

Export Control

Recipients of grants must be vetted through export control prior to making arrangements for travel. Contact Jenny Estes, Director of Research Compliance at jlestes@AState.edu or 870-680-8289.

****A-State does not support travel to any country considered dangerous by the United States Department of State (DOS). Therefore, awards for travel to countries on the DOS alert list will not be considered. Consult the DOS website www.state.gov for up-to-date information.

Award announcements will be made by March 20, 2020.