About the Institute
The Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia (TRI) was established in 1994 with the generous support of HH Prince Moulay Hicham Benabdallah ('85) of Morocco. Its founding director is Professor Abdellah Hammoudi of the Department of Anthropology at Princeton. The Institute's mission is to encourage and enhance the comparative study of issues central to the Middle East-North Africa-Central Asia region. Within this geographical setting, the Institute focuses research on development, economic, social and political issues, democratization and human rights. The Institute also seeks to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and the dissemination of information about this region to the academic and wider community.
Since the fall 2007 the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia (TRI) has been directed by Professor Bernard Haykel of the Department of Near Eastern Studies (NES). In September 2008 TRI became fully integrated within the Department of Near Eastern Studies (NES), and because of its focus on the contemporary social, economic and political affairs of the Arab and Muslim worlds, TRI’s presence in NES will bolster the department’s considerable offerings and strengths on the study of the modern Middle East. This will be accomplished in several ways. First, this academic year’s research theme is centered on the politics of youth in the Arab and Muslim worlds, a relatively neglected yet important topic for understanding the problems and potentials of the region. TRI hopes to lead the effort in framing new questions as well as providing a fresh perspective on the challenges facing the largest demographic segment in Arab and Muslim societies.
Second, TRI is directing a joint project devoted to oil and energy in the Middle East. This is part of a multi-year joint effort by the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Princeton Environmental Institute to develop expertise and research excellence on three facets of the unequaled fossil fuel reserves in the Persian Gulf region. These are: 1) the geo-political and security considerations as well as the domestic politics of energy in the Gulf; 2) the economic and financial aspects of oil and gas markets; 3) the technological features and environmental implications of these particular reserves. As with the topic devoted to youth culture, TRI is running a speakers’ series related to the oil and energy project and hosting two research fellows. There are two themes we would like to focus on during this academic year: 1) the study of the effects of the recent petro-boom cycle, and now bust, and to compare this to the previous ones in the 1970s and 80s; 2) the study of the new industrialization policies of the Gulf countries as well as their food security policies. The two research fellows for the oil and energy project are: 1) Roger Stern who is working on the Iranian oil economy as well as US military doctrines with respect to force projection into the Persian Gulf; 2) Eckart Woertz of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai is completing a book on the politics of food security of the Gulf Cooperation Countries.
The principal activities of the Institute include:
- Annually selecting one or more visiting research fellows to spend a year or two in the Institute. Fellows are generally younger scholars who show great promise in research and publication in areas of study related to the interests of the Institute.
- Presenting an annual series of public lectures and other events organized around a theme chosen each year.
- Organizing conferences that bring together scholars, journalists and public figures from the Middle East-North Africa-Central Asia region, the United States and the rest of the world.
- Publishing, on an occasional basis, articles and monographs resulting from our lecture series, conferences and other events.
- Assisting through sponsorship scholars and other organizations that are contributing to the study of the region.