skip to content

Centre for the Study of the International Relations of the Middle East and North Africa


CIRMENA logoCIRMENA promotes academic and policy-relevant research on the history, politics, economics and cultures of the Middle East and North African region. It brings together a wide range of academic researchers interested in such issues in the United Kingdom and abroad.

CIRMENA hosts conferences, workshops and research projects, and has encouraged publication of articles, monographs and books that have emerged from these and other activities in which it has been closely engaged. In conjunction with the American Institute of Maghrib Studies (AIMS), it publishes the Journal of North African Studies (Routledge), a peer review journal founded by the Centre of North African Studies (CNAS).

CIRMENA was originally created as the Centre for North African Studies (CNAS). The CNAS was founded in 1995 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to act as a focus for research and study of North Africa in the UK, covering all the countries of the region, from Morocco across to Egypt and the Sudan                 .

In 2004, CNAS relocated to the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge. There it was transformed into CIRMENA, thus expanding its interests to cover the Middle East as well. Although it still maintains a special focus on North African affairs, given the relative paucity of academic research in this area in Britain, it has now developed quite specific interests in the Gulf (Qatar, Iraq and Iran) and in Egypt and the Levant.

CIRMENA has links with a number of research institutes and universities in the UK, including the Middle East Centre at St. Anthony’s College in the University of Oxford, the Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Durham and the London Middle East Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

The Centre has ties in North Africa with the Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco and the Centre d'études maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT). It also collaborates with the Al Jazeera Center for StudiesAmerican Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS)

Media and Expertise

Members of CIRMENA have many years experience of commenting on current events in the Middle East and North Africa on television, radio and in print. 

We specialise in the more inaccessible countries in the region - Iran, Kurdistan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and the Sahel - and we welcome enquiries from the press and audio-visual media.


CIRMENA has received funding from:


  • Al Jazeera Media Network
  • British Academy
  • Centre for Iranian Studies, University of St Andrews
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Fonds Hassan II Rabat
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • International Qajar Studies Association

Follow us on Twitter