As managing editors, we are excited to present the fourth issue of the Oxford Middle East Review (OMER). The journal was founded in 2016 at St Antony’s College, Oxford, by two Middle Eastern Studies students, who sought to create an engaging forum for students and aspiring scholars to critically discuss issues pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Today, the journal provides a platform for young aspiring academics and hopes to provide them with a platform by publishing their best work.
While continuing OMER’s interdisciplinary approach, the current issue features articles around the theme of Identity and the Middle East. Undoubtedly, the study of identity has long been a staple of the field, from the early studies of Arab nationalism to the contemporary focus of sectarianism in the Persian Gulf. In the current issue however, we have tried to challenge our contributors to provide new perspectives on this much treaded terrain. With articles covering topics from inter-religious solidarity and tribal identity to issues of identity in education and sexual violence, we believe this has been a fruitful endeavour. The articles of the current issue will undoubtedly advance the academic debates within their respective fields.
Another feature of this year’s issue is the inclusion of three shorter policy pieces that engage with the current affairs of the region. By doing so, we hope to expand OMER’s relevance beyond academic circles and make it more accessible to policy makers and observers of current affairs in the Middle East.
Like everything in our world today, OMER has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of our editors have not been able to remain in Oxford and the many complications related to the pandemic have led to a delay in publication. The current issue will therefore be published online without the launch event normally held in May every year. The launch event would have given the authors an opportunity to present their work and we are deeply saddened that it had to be canceled. While the current issue has been published online, we hope to produce printed copies at a later point when academic life in Oxford returns to normal.
Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we are delighted that this year’s issue is published without impediment and hope that it will stimulate our readers with fresh insights on the Middle East.
The managing editors,
Nia Clark, St. Antony’s College
Eirik Kvindesland, Balliol College
Zein Nasser, Mansfield College
Frederike Brockhoven, Thomas Coyne, Mazen Loan, Gilang Lukman, Nadine Lutzelschwab, Mathew Madain, Michael Memari, and Piotr Schulkes.
Policy Implications of Alternate Medical and Nursing Education in northwest Syria
Adrienne Fricke, Valerie Dobiesz, Rahaf Safi, Bharathi Radhakrishnan, Timothy Erickson and Phuong Pham