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Providing an Alternative Lens on Middle Eastern News

Many of you receive much of your news about contemporary Middle Eastern affairs through the filtered lens of mainstream American media. A smaller percentage receives its news through alternative media outlets aimed to look at the issues at hand with a more rounded perspective. We invite you this week to learn about and soak in the information the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) publishes. Its quarterly publication the Middle East Report provides all the important news and facts you just don’t hear about when you flip on your evening news. Take a moment to read our profile on the MERIP and their efforts in balancing media, sustained media outreach and its training program for college students and recent graduates, as we feature this hard working organization in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.


Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)





Current residence

Washington, DC

About the non-profit

MERIP aims to educate the public about contemporary Middle East affairs and advocate for progressive change in US and international policy toward the region. MERIP fulfills its mission of public education and advocacy in two ways: publication and media outreach.

Our quarterly publication, Middle East Report, provides news and perspectives about the Middle East not available from mainstream news sources. The magazine has developed a reputation for independent analysis of events and developments in the Middle East, earning a nomination for the prestigious Utne Independent Press Awards in 2006. With thousands of subscribers to Middle East Report and close to ten thousand subscribers to our online publication Middle East Report Online, the magazine serves as a resource for academic specialists but is also accessible to the general public.

The magazine is half of MERIP’s work; the other is sustained media outreach. MERIP’s media coordinator works to inject informed and progressive perspectives on contemporary Middle East affairs and US policy toward the region into mainstream media coverage. MERIP and its network of associates provide the media with interviews on a wide range of topics and regularly place opinion pieces in US newspapers. Since 2006, in cooperation with the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University, MERIP has maintained Middle East Desk, an online gateway for journalists to progressive analysis and commentary on important Middle East stories.

Finally, MERIP helps train college students and recent graduates interested in Middle East peace and justice issues through summer- and semester-long internships.

A completely independent organization, MERIP has no links to any religious, educational or political organizations in the US or elsewhere.

Most notable milestones

2006 marked MERIP’s 35th year producing hard-hitting analysis and commentary

In 2006, Middle East Report was nominated for the Utne Independent Press Awards.

Also in 2006, with our partners at the Kevorkian Center at New York University, we launched Middle East Desk. The website serves as a resource for journalists covering the Middle East, providing instant access to contact information for experts and analysis with a progressive viewpoint. Offering easy-to-use features designed to assist journalists working on their first Middle East-related story as well as those with greater experience in the region, the site has more than one thousand journalists subscribed to our weekly updates.

What’s the niche?

Understanding of the Middle East in the United States and Europe is limited and plagued by stereotypes and misconceptions. For more than 30 years, MERIP has maintained an independent, informed and progressive voice that successfully challenges these limitations by addressing a broad range of social, political and cultural issues related to the Middle East. MERIP is unique in producing content and analysis respected and utilized by scholars and practitioners that remains accessible to the general public.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Trying to gain broader awareness and acceptance of the norms of human rights and international law in defining the relationship between the US and the Middle East

What’s in store for the future?

The upcoming issue of Middle East Report will critically engage the recent debate on the rise of sectarianism in the region. We have challenging themes and authors working on important topics lined up for the summer and fall issues as well.

We also plan to begin working on the second phase of Middle East Desk, during which we hope to add thematic features and more interactive resources for journalists.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Stay informed and independent.

Yardstick of success

Building on 35 years of informed analysis and continuing to expand and reach new audiences.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

Professor Rashid Khalidi, a leading American scholar, says “Middle East Report is the best periodical (in English) on the Middle East — bar none.”

According to a leading analyst, Graham Fuller of the RAND Corporation, “Middle East Report is the single most valuable periodical I receive on Middle East affairs, offering a wealth of material unavailable elsewhere. This outstanding journal provides truly fresh, unconventional, insightful information and views that are still essential to my research even years after publication.”

French journalist Eric Rouleau has said, “No person, specializing or not in Middle Eastern affairs, can afford ignoring Middle East Report.”


Interview by Ani Zakarian
Introduction by Sumaya Kazi
Edited by Sumaya Kazi

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Young & Professional Profile | News2Know

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