Posted on April 29, 2015

Last year’s historic inaugural launch of the first academic political science journal that is published by university students in the Middle East will soon be followed by a second publication. Titled The Journal of Georgetown University-Qatar Middle Eastern Studies Student Association, the compilation of undergraduate scholarly work is the brainchild of the Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) Middle Eastern Studies Students Association (MESSA), and published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. Now in its fourth year, MESSA is a uniquely student-focused GU-Q campus organization, giving young people a chance to emulate their esteemed peers in the research community both locally and internationally.

Georgetown University in Qatar students 2 [].jpg“Georgetown in Qatar’s outstanding faculty and researchers have developed a reputation for producing cutting-edge research in topics of real relevance to Qatar, the region, and globally,” said the dean of GU-Q, Dr. Gerd Nonneman. “The publication of this student-led and student-produced journal, now in its second year, is an exceptional milestone in the effort to turn Qatar into a leading hub of intellectual knowledge creation, because it means that a sustainable and vibrant culture of research has now been extended to the next generation of researchers. I am very proud of everyone who made both the MESSA conference and journal a brilliant success.”

The articles of the journal are a compilation of student work representing universities from Doha and around the world that was presented at the fourth MESSA conference held earlier this year, and reflect the conference theme: "Narrowing the Gap: Conversations between the Governing and the Governed in the Middle East.” “This year, we had a larger number of paper submissions, that includes more from our own students at GU-Q as well as Georgetown’s main campus, while also maintaining the diversity of the journal by having papers from Harvard University, University of Southern California, and Northwestern University in Qatar,” commented Editor-in-chief and current GU-Q senior Khawla Al Derbasti. “Even our Review Board has expanded from three members to seven, and these distinguished faculty members’ contribution to the journal has truly been invaluable.”

Georgetown University in Qatar students 3 [].jpgKhawla also noted that the first journal publication received a lot of praise, and she affirms the students’ commitment to meeting the raised expectations with the second issue. “The first issue of the MESSA Journal published online showed great results, with papers that became quite popular. Georgetown faculty who served on the Review Board and Board of Advisors from the first issue of the journal have been especially encouraging and we have all been eager to continue publishing a MESSA journal annually and making sure every issues that comes out is to a standard that is no less than the previous issue,” she said.

MESSA was founded by students Miodrag Stamboldziev and Al-Johara Al-Thani, including the idea of starting an academic journal to showcase the best of the student article submissions, in 2011. The organization serves to voice undergraduate research that is conducted at Georgetown University, whether in Qatar or the United States, and concerns issues which are pivotal to Middle Eastern affairs. Striving to foster and enhance undergraduate research, MESSA enables students, from Georgetown University and across the globe, to voice their research and facilitates a breadth and depth of discussion about respective economic, political and social affairs. More information about the organization and access to the journal are available online at