Monday, January 4, 2010

Middle East Global Center Institute for Scholars

Visiting Scholars and Visiting Fellows Program

The Institute for Scholars at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC) creates new research opportunities and facilitates scholarly exchanges among Columbia University faculty and researchers and regional partners. The Institute enables members to pursue individual and collaborative research, as well as interact with experts throughout the Middle East. In addition, the Institute contributes to the vitality of the Center’s intellectual community and enriches educational programming. The Visiting Scholars and Visiting Fellows programs provide the backbone of the Institute by establishing funded research slots for qualified academics.

Visiting Scholar and Fellow positions are available to faculty and PhD students of Columbia University and its affiliates, as well as academics who identify as Middle Eastern or live in the MENA region. Candidates from any discipline with any geographic focus are eligible to apply. The Institute welcomes all research areas, including Middle Eastern languages and cultures, environmental studies, education, archeology, sustainable development, political theory, social work, agricultural studies, computer science, geology, management, journalism, and religion. To promote intellectual exchange and cooperation, the Institute also encourages group proposals and collaboration with Columbia University faculty. Funding is available for two to three candidates in each of the following categories:

Visiting Scholars include faculty members and accomplished writers.
Visiting Fellows include PhD students and post doctoral fellows. (Preference will be given to candidates with a working relationship with tenured faculty from Columbia University, or an academic institution of its caliber.)

Visiting Scholars and Fellows will be named for terms consisting of semesters or a full academic year, with the possibility of renewal for additional terms. Exceptions may be made for shorter residency periods, depending on the needs and assessments of the Center and the selection committee.

While pursuing their research agendas, Visiting Scholars and Fellows are expected to enrich CUMERC’s intellectual life by participating in activities at the Center and by convening roundtable discussions or conferences related to their subject area. CUMERC will host weekly Institute for Scholars meetings to encourage informal discourse and idea exchange within the CUMERC community and, occasionally, with the public. Whenever possible, CUMERC will also connect Scholars and Fellows to existing academic institutions in the region and facilitate collaboration.
Members of the Institute for Scholars are expected to recognize the Columbia University Middle East Research Center in any publication that draws on knowledge gained or based on work conducted during their stay at the Institute. Scholars and Fellows are also expected to share publications, research findings, and data collected during their residency at the Center.

The Institute for Scholars will provide Visiting Scholars with a maximum annual award of $35,000. Visiting Fellows will receive a maximum annual award of $25,000. Scholars and Fellows may also apply for an additional annual research allowance of no more than $10,000, to cover costs related to fieldwork, symposia, conferences, and acquisition of materials, for example.
The Center will also provide Institute for Scholars members with office space, access to institutional resources (IT support, laptop, Columbia University’s online library resources, and CUMERC’s Resource Center), and access to meetings and conference facilities. Scholars and Fellows can utilize the Center’s administrative and research staff, when this support is available, to assist their research endeavors. The Center will also provide support in finding housing and acquiring residency permits.
The Center encourages schools at Columbia University to designate Fellows to pursue projects that develop the school’s presence in the region. Research stipends will not be granted to such Fellows, unless otherwise determined by the Institute’s selection committee.

Selection Process 
Applications must be submitted to CUMERC’s Senior Academic Manager, Nisreen Haj Ahmad (, by February 28, 2010 and should include the following components:
 CV
 research proposal
 project budget
 two letters of reference from former employers or academics specializing in the applicant’s field

Selection of Scholars and Fellows will be determined by a five-member selection committee composed of CUMERC’s Director, members of CUMERC's faculty steering committee, and a Columbia University faculty member representing the applicant’s discipline. Candidates may be contacted for interviews from the selection committee in spring of 2010. The Institute for Scholars will inform successful applicants and confirm their acceptance of by June 2010.

Selection Criteria 
The selection committee will evaluate applicants based on previous publications, strength of research proposals, collaborative research methodologies, relevance to the region, and originality. Awards will be granted not only based on strength of scholarship and coherence of research proposals, but also based on CUMERC’s research priorities and the distribution of disciplines, methodologies, and backgrounds best suited to fostering a vibrant research community.

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