Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Palestine Exploration Fund photostream on flickr

A collection of photographs from the Palestine Exploration Fund is available on Flickr. The collection shows mainly antiquities but also has some images of people and towns in Palestine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Updated profile on internal displacement in Azerbaijan - IDMC and NRC

The International Displacement Monitoring Centre have updated their profile on internal displacement in Azerbaijan. Click on the picture above to go to the webpage or click here for the PDF

Sunday, 5 December 2010

CONF./CFP- Comparative Perspectives on EU Democracy Promotion, Ghent U., Jun 24

Call for Papers

Workshop: "Comparative perspectives on the substance of EU democracy promotion"

Organised by:
Fabienne Bossuyt (Aston University), Jan Orbie (Ghent University),
Michelle Pace (University of Birmingham) and Anne Wetzel (University of Zurich)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University

Democracy promotion in third countries has been on the EU's agenda
since the early 1990s. Over the past 20 years, EU democracy promotion
activities have been substantiated through a 'learning by doing'
process. In parallel with the development of the EU's democracy
promotion policy, a vast academic literature has emerged on the topic.
While many studies have focussed on the impact and effectiveness of EU
democracy promotion in third countries, others have dealt with the EU
as a democracy promoter itself and, in particular, with its democracy
promotion instruments and strategies. Attention is now also being paid
to the democratic substance that the EU promotes. Scholars focussing
on the issue of democratic substance aim at disaggregating the content
of the EU's democracy promotion activities into single aspects such as
support for elections, the promotion of civil rights, rule of law,
good governance and support to the development of civil society etc.
However, the EU is not the only promoter of democracy.

Rather, it acts in an environment that comprises a variety of other
democracy promoters. While there are studies that compare the
strategies and instruments of EU democracy promotion with those of
other actors, including the US and international organisations such as
the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and
the Asian Development Bank (ADB), similarities and differences in the
substance that is promoted have not yet been thoroughly and
systematically explored. This workshop aims to address the question of
how the substance of EU democracy promotion compares to what other
democracy promoters advance in third countries. By other actors, we
mean (i) EU Member States that maintain separate national democracy
promotion programmes with varying foci, such as Germany, Spain, the
Netherlands and Sweden; (ii) Non-EU countries that have substantial
external democracy promotion programmes, such as the US, Canada,
Norway and Japan; and (iii) other international organisations that
promote democracy, such as the United Nations, the OSCE and the ADB.

The workshop wishes to address the above questions and invites papers
that deal with one or several of the following topics:

- Is there a particular EU-specific conception of democracy
underlying its democracy promotion activities?
- How can we characterise the substance that other actors promote in
third countries and how does the substance of EU democracy promotion
differ compared to other actors?
- Does the substance that EU Member States promote through their
national policies differ from the substance that the EU advances, and
if so, how? What factors account for possible differences?
- How do EU Member States influence the substance of EU democracy promotion?
- How does coordination between the EU and other international
democracy promoters shape the content of the EU's policy (e.g. by
sharing the work, hiding behind other actors)?
- Is the substance of EU democracy promotion influenced by policy
paradigms that were developed by other international actors? Can we
detect learning processes in EU institutions that concern the
substance of democracy promotion? Is the EU a norm maker or a norm
taker in this regard?

Please send an abstract of max. 600 words by Friday, 3 December 2010 to:

You will receive a notification of acceptance from the workshop
organisers by 17 December at the latest.

We are planning to include several advanced papers into a special
issue on the topic of the workshop.

At the moment we are unfortunately not able to announce the
reimbursement of travelling costs. However, we may have some funds to
cover travelling expenses by June 2011.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Mideast Youth iPhone App

The Middle East and North Africa has a growing web presence. Previous to this app, we spent too much time going through separate websites and feeds on Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and various blogs and websites from the region in an attempt to find out what people here are talking about. This app gathers the best of all in a single location, whether you're trying to see what people in Friendfeed are saying from Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc or whether you're trying to connect with Twitter users in the Middle East, or trying to explore how Facebook is being used to spread awareness about various human rights abuses in the region - this app has it all!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Afghanistan's treasure comes to the British Museum

(Picture from the Guardian)

Some of Afghanistan's most beautiful treasures will be on display at the British Museum this spring, including a crown made for a princess 2,000 years ago that was believed lost as war engulfed the country but survived thanks to the courage of staff in the national museum.

(For the rest of this article from the Guardian, click here)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Grant for photographers from Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakista

GRANTS- Photography from Cent. Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakistan

Posted by: Jeff Yarborough

The Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project
( and Arts and Culture
Network Program ( announce a
grant and training opportunity for documentary photographers from
Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan.

The grant is being offered to:
* visually document issues of importance in the region; and
* provide training and support to photographers from the region.

Approximately 10 cash stipends in the amount of $3,500 each will be
awarded to photographers to produce a photo essay on a current human
rights or social issue in the region. Grantees will participate in two
master-level workshops on visual storytelling through photography and
multimedia. These workshops are led by internationally-recognized
photographers and industry professionals who will then provide ongoing
mentorship and support throughout the six-month grant term.

The Open Society Foundations will pay travel and hotel expenses and
provide a per diem to cover meals and incidentals for the workshops.
The deadline for proposals is December 3, 2010.

For more information on the grant, please visit:

GRANTS- Central Asian Energy Fellowship at BIC, Washington, D.C.

From Central Eurasia list:

Bank Information Center is pleased to announce a call for applications
for the BIC Energy Fellowship for residents of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,
Kazakhstan and Russia.

Europe and Central Asia Program Call for Applications Fellowship on
Energy Strategies and the Multilateral Development Banks Bank
Information Center (BIC) is pleased to announce a call for
applications for a 2-4 week fellowship program in Washington, DC for
civil society organizations interested in advancing citizen interests
and participation in energy projects or policy supported by
multilateral development banks (MBDs). The fellowship is open to
applicants from Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The
fellowship is an opportunity to learn about multilateral development
banks and their projects and policies, their impact on the development
of energy sector in fellow's countries and role of public oversight
and advocacy. The fellows will also learn advocacy skills, network
with civil society, meet decision makers and take part in BIC's Energy
Campaign during spring of 2011. The fellows will have a chance to
develop a coherent strategy to advocate civil society concerns
vis-à-vis international investors. The fellowship will focus on the
World Bank and BIC's accumulated experience in project monitoring and
policy setting work. BIC welcomes proposals from fellows that
elaborate on long-term cooperation between the applicant's
organization and BIC on a concrete World Bank project, program or

Application instructions:

Applicants need to submit the following documents in Russian or
English to , no later than December 31, 2010.

* The application form,
* Narrative proposal describing the specific issue they would like to
address according to proposal criteria below, not exceeding 3 pages.
(See proposal criteria below)
* Resume

Proposal criteria:

* The proposals should involve multilateral development banks,
preferably the World Bank, and be related to energy sector;
* Clearly state an opportunity or a problem in the energy sector that
the applicant would like to address and why;
* Propose how you intend to bring about change in the specific
project, program or the energy sector in general;
* Elaborate how BIC and the fellowship can help achieve the stated
goals, during the fellowship and after its completion;
* Elaborate what you want to accomplish with skills and knowledge
obtained from the fellowship.


* Be a national and current resident of Russia, Kazakhstan,
Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.
* Have a track record demonstrating commitment to social change in a
professional setting;
* Have a working knowledge of English language;
* All encouraged to apply, but early and mid-career professionals
will receive preference.

Expenses: The fellowship will cover applicant's trip to Washington,
DC, accommodation and per diem during the period of stay between 2 4
weeks. BIC will also cover fellow visa expenses.

Please contact BIC for the application form.

Said Yakhyoev
Associate, Europe and Central Asia Program
Bank Information Center
1100 H Street NW, Suite 650
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 624 0639

Friday, 26 November 2010

Redhouse Turkish Lexicon - Please use e-book

The copies of Redhouse's Turkish Lexicon (1857, 1890, Arabic script first before Redhouse's transliteration) that the Library possesses are not in good shape, but very difficult to replace. I have withdrawn two from service because it is so fragile but in the meantime please try to use the free e-book which is available from Internet Archive. It might not be as handy as the print version, but at least you can use it outside of the Library. The link is on this catalogue record.

NB More modern Turkish dictionaries based on Redhouse's original are still available in the Library as usual, this announcement only refers to the Bernard Quaritch editions.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Russia's Arabic language newspaper re-launches in UAE after 17 years

(Picture from

The Moscow News yesterday re-launched its Arabic edition in the United Arab Emirates 17 years after its closure, RIA Novosti reported. Anbaa Mosku will cover Russian affairs and is a part of Russian government's new strategy to step up relations with the Arab world.

Click on the picture above to go to the full article

Monday, 1 November 2010

Call for Papers: Official Anti-Veiling Campaigns in the M. East and C. Asia, Sept. 23

Call for papers:

Friday 23 September 2011
St Antony's College, University of Oxford

Coercion or Empowerment?
Official Anti-Veiling Campaigns in the Middle East and Central Asia

The recent decision by the French National Assembly to ban the wearing
of the niqab (Muslim face-veil) in public has sparked an intense
controversy. Similar anti-niqab campaigns are taking place in a range
of European countries

The immense symbolic significance which the niqab, sometimes
mistakenly referred to as the burqa, has acquired, both for its
supporters and its opponents, is a marked feature of this controversy.
Both sides claim to speak for women's empowerment, but are divided by
issues of secularism versus religious belief, and identity versus integration.

Yet neither the anti-veiling campaigns in contemporary Europe, nor the
debates which rage around them, are new. They are strikingly
pre-figured by similar campaigns and debates which occurred across the
Islamic world in the early decades of the twentieth century,
particularly in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Although
these countries were ruled by very different regimes, in Turkey a
republican regime based on the army, modernizing monarchs, Reza Shah
and King Amanullah, in Iran and Afghanistan, and communist parties in
Central Asia, their anti-veiling campaigns bore profound similarities.
Whether communist or elite nationalist, all disliked what they viewed
as the reactionary forces of Islam and tradition, forces which they
equated and conflated, and all wished to create a new and modern
woman, unveiled, educated and integrated into the workforce.

These anti-veiling campaigns were everywhere presented as
emancipatory. However, they were conducted by regimes which were in
every sense authoritarian while the state's sponsorship of aggressive
and authoritarian anti-veiling campaigns led to an intense
politicization of the issue. Unveiling became a battleground on which
enemies of the regimes might mobilize a more general opposition. For
the secular elites, unveiling remained a signifier of modernity. For
their opponents, unveiling became symptomatic of a loss of cultural
integrity and a capitulation to European imperialism. Many also saw
unveiling as a deliberate attempt to weaken religious feeling, the
last means by which European power might be resisted.

The conference will look at these official anti-veiling campaigns in
the interwar Middle East and Central Asia from a comparative
historical perspective. It will examine as wide a range of historical
episodes as possible and draw conclusions about the nature,
objectives, achievements and failures of these campaigns, which have
such a striking contemporary resonance.

Please submit abstracts, of not more than 500 words, of proposed
papers to Stephanie Cronin:

Deadline for submissions 15th February 2011.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

New York Times article on Adonis, Arab Poet


Every year around this time the name of the Syrian poet Adonis pops up in newspapers and in betting shops. Adonis (pronounced ah-doh-NEES), a pseudonym adopted by Ali Ahmad Said Esber in his teens as an attention getter, is a perennial favorite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. This year Ladbrokes, the British bookmaking firm, had his chances at 8-1, which made him seem a surer bet than the eventual winner, Mario Vargas Llosa, a 25-1 long shot. Why Adonis appeals to the oddsmakers, presumably, is that he’s a poet, and poets have been under-represented among Nobelists lately; that he writes in Arabic, the language of only one Nobel winner, Naguib Mahfouz; and that as is the case with so many recent winners, most Americans have never heard of him.

Click on the picture above to access the article at

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Remember to check the re-shelving area

Attention students! If you can't find your Middle East/Islam book on the shelves, especially N and NB classmarks, remember to check the 're-shelving area' at Stack 187 on level B. There are some shelves there for books which don't fit on the shelves in their normal place. These books are being re-shelved in their proper place as space becomes available, but in the meantime check there. If you need any help let me know.

Joseph Smith ( Room C3

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Manuscripts digitised by the Library of the Iranian Parliament

The Library of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Parliament in Tehran has digitized more than 26000 manuscripts (including Persian, Arabic and Turkish items) in this very important collection. Manuscripts can be searched by name (Persian/Arabic) or catalogue number. For each picture you can increase the resolution and size by clicking on the link( save (ذخیره= and all the images are downloadable. Clcik on the image above to access the collection.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Online archive of Paletinian posters

A free online archive of the fascinating art of Palestinian posters, representing artists and groups from all over the world.

Friday, 24 September 2010

New CNN World View programme remembers Çingiz Mustafayev

(Image courtesy of

The CNN World View programme recently focused on the Azerbaijani journalist Chingiz Mustafayev, who was killed in the conflict zone during the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 1992. Mustafayev, who was posthumously awarded the title of National Hero of Azerbaijan, was renowned for the 18 films he shot about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenian separatists. His most famous piece of footage is of the aftermath of the Khojaly Massacre which depicted hundreds of bodies strewn across snow-covered fields, and which arguably changed the history of his country after it was shown in a parliamentary session. Click on the photo above to view the film.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The true history of the Koran in America - Article in the Boston Globe

"For most Americans, the Koran remains a deeply foreign book, full of strange invocations. Few non-Muslims read it, and most of us carry assumptions about a work of scripture that we assume to be hostile, though it affirms many of the earlier traditions of Christianity and Judaism. Like all works of scripture, it is complex and sometimes contradictory, full of soothing as well as frightening passages. But for those willing to make a genuine effort, there are important areas of overlap, waiting to be found."

Click on the picture above to go straight to the article in The Boston Globe

Monday, 23 August 2010

News: Century-Old Novel on US-Arab Harmony Still Resonates

(Courtesy: Project Khalid)

Voice of America reports:
The first English-language novel ever published by an Arab-American author is about to mark its 100th anniversary....

(Click on the picture above to go to the full article from Voice of America at

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Obituary for Tahar Wattar, from Associated Press

Tahar Wattar, a Writer in Arabic of Algerian Novels, Dies at 74


ALGIERS (AP) — Tahar Wattar, one of Algeria’s leading Arab-language writers, who used his novels to explore his nation’s struggle for independence from France and its postcolonial history, died Thursday. He was 74.

The death was reported by the official news agency APS. A noted writer and friend, Wassini Laaredj, told The Associated Press that Mr. Wattar had died after a “long illness.” He had been hospitalized for cancer treatment on various occasions in Paris.

Mr. Wattar was known for his adversarial position toward Algeria’s French-language authors, whom he once denounced as “vestiges of colonialism.” The Arabic language, along with the Islamic faith, was a crucial component in Algeria’s forging an identity as an independent nation after a bloody war ended more than 130 years of French rule in 1962. Mr. Wattar revisited Algeria’s postcolonial history, sometimes using symbolism and allegory, in novels like “Al Laz” (1974), “A Mule’s Wedding” (1978) and “The Fisherman and the Palace” (1980).

While he appeared to support the nationalist movement and had the blessing of Algeria’s one-party government, Mr. Wattar subtly evoked the downside, contrasting the idealism of the movement with the disappointments that reality delivered.

Mr. Wattar also wrote plays as well as short stories like “The Martyrs Are Coming Back This Week” and “Smoke From My Heart.” In 1996 he founded a magazine dedicated to short stories.

Mr. Wattar was born in Sedratta, in the eastern region of Batna. His first story was published in 1956, in neighboring Tunisia, but he turned to journalism before becoming a novelist. He founded weekly newspapers in the eastern city of Constantine and in Algiers in 1963.

He presided over the Al Djahizia cultural association, which awards annual prizes to young writers and poets in the Arab world.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Empire and Names: The Case of Nagorno Karabakh, Benjamin Foster


The Nagorno Karabakh region in Western Azerbaijan has been
the site of a bloody conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia since
1992. Both nations claim historic ties to the area as independent
kingdoms or as autonomous vassal nations under larger empires. This
paper will survey toponymic patterns in the 20th century of Nagorno
Karabakh, under Soviet and post-Soviet rule. How did toponyms change
in the 20th century? Has toponymic reality followed demographic
reality? How did the Soviet toponymic system differ from previous
imperial or national systems? Lastly, what does Karabakh's toponymic
history in the 20th century have to contribute to the discussion on
the Soviets' treatment of nationalism, and to the discussion on the
ongoing tension over Karabakh? This paper will attempt to answer these
questions by examining past and present maps, policy documents, and
other textual sources to provide a toponymic history of Nagorno
Karabakh. This history will help explain how the current toponymic
landscape of Karabakh came to be, and whether or not toponymic actions
and policies may have contributed to the conflict. By bringing this
aspect of Karabakh's history to light, I hope to show how the toponym,
an important cultural symbol, plays a role in interethnic relations.

Citation: Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress of Onomastic Sciences
Publisher: York University
Date: 2009
(Click on the map above for the full text PDF from York University, Ontario)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

NY Times article on students choosing the Middle East

(Picture courtesy of NY Times)

Check out this interesting article from the NY Times:

AT first glance, they seem like typical American college students on their junior year abroad, swapping stories of language mishaps and cultural clashes, sharing sightseeing tips and travel deals. But these students are not studying at Oxford, the Sorbonne or an art institute in Florence.

Instead, they are attending the American University in Cairo, studying Arabic, not French, and dealing with cultural, social and religious matters far more complex than those in Spain or Italy. And while their European counterparts might head to Heidelberg, Germany, for a weekend of beer drinking, these students visit places most Americans know only through news reports — the West Bank, Ethiopia and even northern Iraq. No “Sex and the City” jaunts to Abu Dhabi for this group.

In what educators are calling the fastest growing study-abroad program, American college students are increasingly choosing to spend their traditional junior year abroad in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, wanting to experience the Arab world beyond America’s borders and viewpoints.

(Click on the picture above to go to the original article on

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Taliban Beyond the Pashtuns by LSE's Antonio Giustozzi

The Taliban Beyond the Pashtuns
Antonio Giustozzi
Afghanistan Paper #5

Although the Taliban remain a largely Pashtun movement in terms of their composition, they have started making significant inroads among other ethnic groups. In many cases, the Taliban have co-opted, in addition to bandits, disgruntled militia commanders previously linked to other organizations, and the relationship between them is far from solid. There is also, however, emerging evidence of grassroots recruitment of small groups of ideologically committed Uzbek, Turkmen and Tajik Taliban. While even in northern Afghanistan the bulk of the insurgency is still Pashtun, the emerging trend should not be underestimated.

Image and text from CIGIonline

Monday, 19 July 2010

Interesting new donation : Kuntu fī Afghānistān : mushāhadāt wa-yawmīyāt min bilād al-jihād...wa-al-irhāb / Turkī al-Dakhīl

Just catalogued an interesting new donation to the Library's collection: Kuntu fī Afghānistān : mushāhadāt wa-yawmīyāt min bilād al-jihād...wa-al-irhāb by Turkī al-Dakhīl.

I don't have time to read it, but if you do then check it out! Apparently, copies sold like hot cakes when the book was first published......

Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships for Reporters and Editors

Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships

Applications due August 1, 2010.

Each year the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships (AFPF) brings
approximately ten mid-career reporters and editors--usually between
the ages of 25 and 35--to America for a six-month, in-depth, practical
introduction to the professional and ethical standards of the U.S.
print media. Among those who have succeeded are Fellows who have
become top editors and newsroom managers, founders of news outlets and
public relation firms, section heads, bureau chiefs, chief or foreign
correspondents, and university professors. Many have received
Fulbright, Neiman, Reuters and Yale World Fellowships as well as
Chevening Scholarships, and others have received awards, prizes,
overseas assignments and/or found jobs outside of their home country.

Fellows arrive in Washington, DC, for a two-week group orientation
before they start as staff reporters, one per host, in newsrooms
across the United States. Usually assigned to the city desk to cover
local news and features, Fellows may rotate among other
sections--arts, business, editorial features, online, etc. With the
support and commitment of our host publications, Fellows can enter
fully into daily newsroom activities. Guided by talented host
reporters and editors, they are able to learn firsthand the practical
realities and influential role of journalism in this country.

Of the many training programs available to journalists, the Alfred
Friendly Press Fellowships is the only one to offer a non-academic,
long-term, hands-on experience in a single newsroom. The late Alfred
Friendly, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and former managing editor
of The Washington Post, believed that working side by side with
reporters and editors is the best way to absorb the practical
realities of journalism in this country and the instrumental role it
plays in our society.

Alfred Friendly set the following three primary objectives for the
fellowship program:

- Enable Fellows to gain a practical understanding of the function
and significance of the free press in American society.
- Provide Fellows with experience in reporting, writing, and editing
that will enhance future professional performance.
- Foster continuing ties between free press institutions and
journalists in the United States and their counterparts in other countries.

Criteria of Eligibility

- An excellent command of both written and spoken English as all
activities are conducted in English;
- At least three years of professional experience as a journalist in
the print media;
- Current employment as a journalist with an independent print media
organization in the country of citizenship;
- Early to mid-career status;
- A demonstrated personal commitment to a career in journalism in the
home country.

For more information, and to apply, please visit: html

Thursday, 1 July 2010

New Electronic Resource - Regulating Conflicts of Interest in Challenging Environments : The Case of Azerbaijan

A newly published report on Azerbaijan has just been added to the library catalogue. This report should be of interest to students of development, or anyone interested in the post-Soviet Caucasus. Click on the link below.

Regulating conflicts of interest in challenging environments : the case of Azerbaijan by Quentin Reed

Engaging Civil Society in the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict

A new publication on EU relations with civil society in the context of
the Nagorno Karabakh conflict has been published, within the MICROCON

The title of the publication and the link are below.

PWP11: Engaging Civil Society in the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict: What
Role for the EU and its Neighbourhood Policy?
( - Licinia Simao

Simao L. 2010. Engaging Civil Society in the Nagorno Karabakh
Conflict: What Role for the EU and its Neighbourhood Policy?. MICROCON
Policy Working Paper 11, Brighton: MICROCON.

For further information, please contact:

MICROCON: A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Institute of
Development Studies at
the University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RE
Tel: +44 (0)1273 872891