Programs in the Middle East and North Africa

So, what or where exactly is the Middle East?

Photo: K. Kupstys, UAE 2013

That's a difficult question, and one that will lead to different answers.  According to some, the Middle East (or Mideast) is a part of Asia, sitting where that continent bumps up again Europe. To others, its a larger region that stretches from Turkey to northern Africa (above the Sahara) and eastward to Iran.  For some, it's a geographic grouping, for others a political one, and for still others a cultural one. 

But why "middle"?  Well, the Middle East is a Eurocentric concept created by the British foreign service in the latter part of the 19th century to describe the area west of the "Far East" (China, Japan...) but east of Western Europe. 

Such a new term for a region full of such old cultures!  Some of the world's earliest known civilizations -- the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians -- arose here, and it's the cradle of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 

Explore the Middle East.







United Arab Emirates