The Middle East in the Contemporary World (MECW)

The majority of CMES research projects are situated within the strategic research area (SRA) called “The Middle East in the Contemporary World” or MECW.

This project, funded by the Swedish Research Council, is the foundation for research efforts organized by the center with the aim of coordinating, redirecting, and expanding research at Lund University.



In addition to MECW, CMES hosts several multi-disciplinary research projects with external funding. 


Social sciences, humanities, natural and applied sciences

Recognising the complexity of the Middle Eastern states, societies, and cultures as well as of the region as a whole and its transnational dimensions and connections, and realising the need for innovative research that can do justice to it, CMES has been aspiring to foster multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives, approaches, and methodologies.

Our core and affiliated researcher team spans social sciences, humanities, and natural and applied sciences, and our research seminars and other research-related activities have given rise to fruitful exchanges across different scientific fields and culminated in interdisciplinary research projects such as Hydrosolidarity, Syria: post-conflict futures, Conflict Diasporas and Understanding Population Mobility and Land Dynamics in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Scientific coordination

karin [dot] aggestam [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (Karin Aggestam) professor, MECW scientific coordinator, Political Science

ronny [dot] berndtsson [at] tvrl [dot] lth [dot] se (Ronny Berndtsson), professor, MECW deputy scientific coordinator, Water Resource Engineering

Fluid geographies shaped by the movement

Whereas we focus on the geographical space that makes up the Middle East, the societies and politics situated in it and the cultures developing there, we also recognise the more fluid geographies that are shaped by the movement of people and the flows of money, ideas and cultural products and the inextricable links of the region to Sweden, Europe and the rest of the world as our research on Syrians in the Øresund.

Synergies and collaboration

We aspire to produce research of the highest standard that informs our public engagement and we always welcome comments, suggestions and actively seek opportunities that can enable us to establish and make use of synergies and collaboration.

The Center is host to several research projects with external financial support: you can find information and contact details about each project to the left.

“The Middle East in the world”

Since our early years in 2009 when we received a Strategic Research Area grant for the Middle East in the Contemporary World (MECW), our research activities, partnerships, and collaborations have multiplied and focus on a variety of research issues and problems relating to Middle Eastern states and societies but also to “the Middle East in the world” – the various ways in which the region impacts the rest of the world in terms of flows of people, ideologies, and culture.