Governance and Administration of the Middle East Center (MEC)

Bylaws (December 15, 2017)


1. MEC Membership

1. The membership consists of core, affiliated and associated faculty:

Core faculty are University of Pennsylvania faculty whose research and teaching include a major focus on the Middle East and on North Africa;

Affiliated faculty are University of Pennsylvania faculty whose research and teaching significantly focus in part on the Middle East and on North Africa; &

Associated faculty are faculty at nearby universities and colleges who wish to become involved with the MEC: such membership may be requested though the Director, and shall include being posted on the Center’s web-site, being invited to participate in the Center’s programs, and being consulted by the Director, or by the Director’s delegated nominees.

1.2. Membership Renewal: Existing members may nominate any proposed new member for approval by the Director who shall ask the Executive Committee to ratify the nomination at the its next meeting, having given notice on the agenda of that meeting.

1.3. Core and affiliated faculty members may enjoy the benefits of MEC membership, including participation on MEC committees (e.g., the Executive Committee, the Academic Advisory Committee, FLAS, and other appropriate bodies). They may also benefit from MEC funds earmarked for relevant conferences and other programmatic initiatives, as approved by the Director, and in compliance with University and federal regulations.

1.4. All MEC faculty groups are invited to all the Center’s public events and functions.

1.5. Voting rights are confined to core and affiliated members.


2. Meetings and Communication Among the Membership

2.1. The Center shall convene at least one general meeting per year, normally in the Spring semester, for its faculty membership. The agenda shall normally be communicated with at least one week’s notice.

2.2. At other times, communication among members occurs principally through e-mail or through virtual online meetings or tele-conferences.

2.3. Matters that require the Director to engage in consultation may occur either through meetings, or with bilateral exchanges of all members of the Executive Committee.


3. The Executive Committee

There shall be an Executive Committee, led by the Director.

A. Composition of the Executive Committee

3.1. The Director and Past Director are ex-officio members of the Executive Committee, which is chaired by the Director.

3.2. The Executive Committee shall also normally have another six core faculty members who serve three-year terms, which are renewable in the event that replacements are unavailable.

3.3. The initial procedures for staggering the terms of the members are attached in Annex A. These may be modified by a resolution of the Executive Committee.

3.4. The Director shall circulate requests for nominations to serve on the Executive Committee when vacancies occur.

3.5. Core faculty may self-nominate for service on the Executive Committee by informing the Director of their wish to serve.

3.6. The Director, taking the advice of the Past Director, shall endeavor to compose a full Executive Committee to reflect disciplinary breadth, diversity of perspectives, rank, and other appropriate criteria. The Director shall seek the approval of the Executive Committee for new members, and shall periodically report the composition of the Committee to the Dean, with a brief justification.

B. Duties of the Executive Committee

3.7. Executive Committee members play an active role in furthering the academic and programmatic initiatives of the Middle East Center, as stipulated by the University of Pennsylvania, and by the MEC’s principal grant donor(s).

3.8. The Executive Committee works collaboratively under the leadership of the Director to advise on grant programs and applications, conferences, public events, publication plans, appropriate personnel matters, and other issues brought to their attention by the Director.

C. Resolutions within the Executive Committee

3.9. Regarding matters appropriately resolved by a vote of the Executive Committee, the Director shall propose a resolution that shall be decided by a simple majority-vote among all those present and entitled to vote. In determining such resolutions, a tie may be broken by the casting vote of the Director.


4. Modern Middle East Studies (MMES) Academic Advisory Board

4.1. The MEC Executive Committee, in consultation with the Director, shall appoint members of the Academic Advisory Board.

4.2. The purpose of the Academic Advisory Board is to review the MMES curriculum and design, as necessary, and to provide guidance to the Director about the future trajectory of the Middle East Center’s academic programs.


5. The Director of the Middle East Center

A. Appointment and Qualifications of the Director

5.1. The Director is appointed by the Dean(s), normally from core faculty appointed with tenure at the University of Pennsylvania.

5.2. The Director’s duties and term of office shall be determined at appointment, and subject to such additional regulations as may be required by the University, SAS, the Dean(s), and external or grant-giving bodies.

5.3. The Director’s term may be renewed by the Dean(s), but the Director shall normally serve no more than two full terms after appointment.

5.4. The Executive Committee shall normally be consulted by the Dean(s) during the appointment of a Director, and during any proposed extension of a Director’s term not provided for in 5.2.

The Duties of The Director

5.5. The Director’s general duties shall be specified in their terms of appointment.

5.6. The Director’s duties shall be performed with full respect for these bylaws, and in accordance with standard norms of collegiality.


6. Amendments to these bylaws

6.1. The core and associated members of the Middle East Center may amend these bylaws by a simple majority vote in two successive meetings, provided that notice has been given in a formal agenda paper issued at least one week before a vote takes place, and provided that the relevant amendment(s) have been supported by a majority of the Executive Committee.

6.2. Any such proposed amendment must be proposed and seconded in the Executive Committee and at a general meeting.

6.3. The quorum for a valid general meeting considering the passage of amendments shall be forty per cent of the core faculty members plus one.


7. Record Keeping

7. 1. These by-laws shall be posted on the web-site of the MEC, in a prominent location, and updated after any amendments have been passed.

7.2. The existing core, associated and affiliated membership and committee members shall be specified in the same web-location, and updated annually.





The Current members of the Executive Committee are:

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (History), the Director, and in surname order:

Paul M. Cobb (NELC),

Jamal Elias (Religious Studies),

Feride Hatiboglu (Turkish Languages/NELC),

Ian S. Lustick (Political Science),

Brendan O’Leary (Political Science),

Heather Sharkey (NELC), &

Eve Troutt Powell (History).

Until there is a serving Past Director, Articles 3.1 and 3.5 of the by-laws are modified accordingly.

To stagger renewals of the Executive Committee, the Director shall observe the following principles:

  1. The serving chair of NELC, or their nominee, shall normally serve on the MEC Executive Committee, stepping down after their term is over, by agreement with the Director.

  2. In the Fall of 2019, should suitable prospective replacement members be available, the Director shall ask the longer serving of current members from the same department to make way for new members––thereby making up to three slots available (i.e., there is no obligation to replace all three).

  3. A lottery will be held among the other committee members to determine the order in which they are not renewed, with the intent of having one retirement and one replacement per annum.

  4. Anyone who has served a full term is eligible for renewal at the discretion of the Director, but it is agreed that starting in the Fall of 2019 no member should serve more than two consecutive terms.

  5. Having two members on the committee from the same department or center shall not be deemed inappropriate, especially if their research and teaching differ in substantive focus, and if they differ in experience, perspective, or rank.