Swiss Society for the Middle East and Islamic Cultures SSMEIC/SGMOIK
The Swiss Society for the Middle East and Islamic Cultures aims to contribute towards promoting understanding of the cultures and societies of western Asia and North Africa in Switzerland by promoting dialogue with Middle Eastern and Islamic societies and academic, publishing and artistic work. In recent years, the society has increasingly been interested in migration issues and Muslim religious practices in Swiss society. An important aspect of our work is also an interest in economic and political global networking, which connects and alters societies in Europe and regions bordering Europe to the southeast in different ways. The societies plays an important role in mediating between academic research, the media, politics and interested members of the public.
The Swiss Society for the Middle East and Islamic Cultures has existed since 1990 and currently has c. 200 members. It sees itself as a forum for people in Switzerland whose careers relate in any way to the region of Western Asia/North Africa and issues pertaining to Islamic culture[s]. It is also open to all individuals with an interest in the subject. Members of the society work at schools and universities, in editorial offices, publishing houses, museums, in public administration, for NGOs, foundations, international institutions and in private business, for example.
The society is neither ideologically nor politically aligned with a specific view and does not serve as an instrument for disseminating particular convictions or ideologies.
The society organises international colloquiums every other year, and a smaller academic conference in the alternate years. It invites cultural and media representatives as well as academics from the region of Western Asia and Northern Africa to Switzerland or supports such events. It organises exhibitions, readings, lecture series, discussions, film screenings and seminars in different Swiss cities. From the outset, the society has had an interdisciplinary approach, which takes voices from the Arab and Islamic world seriously and wants to understand them in context.
In collaboration with the Swiss Asia Society, the Swiss Society for the Middle East and Islamic Cultures organises a conference for junior researchers in Asian studies every three years. At this conference, junior researchers from all subjects related to Asia at Swiss universities present and discuss their work.
Finally, the society publishes a bulletin with a focus topic every six months. Generally, the bulletin alternates between focusing on a country and focusing on a subject area. Members receive the bulletin by post. Bulletins in paper form can be ordered or subscribed to and are available as PDF files on the society’s website.