Titled The Journal of Georgetown University-Qatar Middle Eastern Studies Student Association, the compilation of undergraduate scholarly work is the brainchild of the Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) Middle Eastern Studies Students Association (MESSA), and published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP). Now in its fourth year, MESSA is a uniquely student-focused GU-Q campus organisation, giving young people a chance to emulate their esteemed peers in the research community both locally and internationally. Dean of GU-Q, Dr Gerd Nonneman, said:
Georgetown in Qatar’s outstanding faculty and researchers have developed a reputation for producing cutting-edge research in topics of real relevance to Qatar, the region, and globally. The publication of this student-led and student-produced journal, now in its second year, is an exceptional milestone in the effort to turn Qatar into a leading hub of intellectual knowledge creation, because it means that a sustainable and vibrant culture of research has now been extended to the next generation of researchers. I am very proud of everyone who made both the MESSA conference and journal a brilliant success.’
The articles of the journal are a compilation of student work representing universities from Doha and around the world that was presented at the fourth MESSA conference held earlier this year, and reflect the conference theme: ‘Narrowing the Gap: Conversations between the Governing and the Governed in the Middle East.’
Editor-in-chief and current GU-Q senior, Khawla Al Derbasti, said:
This year, we had a larger number of paper submissions, that includes more from our own students at GU-Q as well as Georgetown’s main campus, while also maintaining the diversity of the journal by having papers from Harvard University, University of Southern California, and Northwestern University in Qatar. Even our Review Board has expanded from three members to seven, and these distinguished faculty members’ contribution to the journal has truly been invaluable.’
Khawla also noted that the first journal publication received a lot of praise, and she affirms the students’ commitment to meeting the raised expectations with the second issue. She said:
The first issue of the MESSA Journal published online showed great results, with papers that became quite popular. Georgetown faculty who served on the Review Board and Board of Advisors from the first issue of the journal have been especially encouraging and we have all been eager to continue publishing a MESSA journal annually and making sure every issues that comes out is to a standard that is no less than the previous issue.’
MESSA was founded by students Miodrag Stamboldziev and Al Johara Al Thani, including the idea of starting an academic journal to showcase the best of the student article submissions, in 2011. The organisation serves to voice undergraduate research that is conducted at Georgetown University, whether in Qatar or the US, and concerns issues which are pivotal to Middle Eastern affairs. Striving to foster and enhance undergraduate research, MESSA enables students, from Georgetown University and across the globe, to voice their research and facilitates a breadth and depth of discussion about respective economic, political and social affairs.
For more information about the organisation and access to the journal are available online.