About Us

The first institution of its kind in Colorado, the ICRS Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) is dedicated to promoting and strengthening the study and understanding of the societies, political systems, and international relations of the Middle East and broader Islamic world, both at DU and throughout the Mountain West. Housed within the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Center seeks to generate scholarly research and foster public understanding of this critical and changing part of the world.

Engaging in and sponsoring both academic and policy research based on an interdisciplinary social science agenda, the Center produces new scholarship on the Middle East and provides a lively forum for dialogue and debate on the contemporary politics of the region. A specific focus of the Center's work is the relationship between Islamic societies and democracy.

2018-2019 year in review

Annual Review Newsletters

The Center for Middle East Studies keeps up a busy schedule of events, conferences, publications and interviews. We chronicle our yearly activities by publishing our annual Year in Review at the end of each summer. 



  • Micheline Ishay (Director)
    Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Specializations: Human Rights, Political Theory, Middle East and European Politics, US foreign policy, Epistemology, research methods, public policy, Global governance

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Core Faculty

  • Tamra Pearson d'Estrée
    Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School

    Research Interests: Identity dimensions of intergroup conflicts, peacebuilding, Track Two diplomacy, processes for intergroup conflict resolution, particularly in the Middle East, Anatolia, and the Caucasus; integration of Muslim immigrants into communities in Europe, the U.S. and New Zealand.

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  • Kareem El Damanhoury
    Assistant Professor, Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies

    Research Interests: Visual communication, international/intercultural communication, and media and conflict. 

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  • Jonathan Sciarcon
    Associate Professor, Department of History  

    Research Interests: Pre-modern and modern Middle East, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Israel/Palestine, American cultural and political engagement with Israel.

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  • Zahra Takhshid
    Assistant Professor of Law, Sturm College of Law

    Research Interests: Torts, contracts, privacy, social media, technology, and the law. Additionally, how to use tools from torts and contracts in resolving challenges with emerging technological developments. A second strand of her interest is Islamic and comparative law.

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  • Carole Woodall
    Associate Professor, Department of History
    University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

    Research Interests: Modern Middle Eastern history, late-Ottoman and early Turkish republican history, sensory, cultural, and urban history of the Middle East.

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