13 essential blogs and websites to help you understand the Middle East

The Middle East is one of the world’s most complex regions. Media reports struggle to get across the context and nuance needed to get a clear understanding of events on the ground. Meanwhile, books and academic works often seem stuck in time and can be rendered irrelevant overnight in the face of rapid developments. These … Continue reading 13 essential blogs and websites to help you understand the Middle East

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Middle East Monthly Roundup: October

From now on, we're going to be publishing a monthly summary of the biggest stories in the Middle East, explaining why they matter and what they mean for the region. Here are two important developments that took place during October: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul What happened On October 2nd … Continue reading Middle East Monthly Roundup: October

The Omani village that’s empowering women through entrepreneurship

By Tone Delin Indrelid Just across the road from the serene looking green domed mosque on Sidab Road, there is a quaint little house. Its door is painted a calm blue and a blue sign indicates that you have reached the community centre of ‘Sidab Women.’ Sidab Women’s Sewing Group was founded in 2004 by … Continue reading The Omani village that’s empowering women through entrepreneurship

15 essential podcasts to help you understand the Middle East

Trying to understand the Middle East is complicated at best and impossible at worst! News stories give conflicting views of developments on the ground and much of the mainstream media coverage is steeped in stereotypes and lacking in nuance. These 13 podcasts deconstruct Middle Eastern history, politics, culture and the economy to give you a … Continue reading 13 essential podcasts to help you understand the Middle East

The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

One of the greatest obstacles standing in the way of the pursuit of gender equality in the Middle East is the continued practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in many regional countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM across 30 countries, and that … Continue reading The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

5 things you need to know to understand the Kurdish independence referendum

Today, millions of Iraqi Kurds will go to the polls to vote on whether they believe Iraqi Kurdistan should become an independent state, in a controversial referendum that could have far reaching implications for Iraq and the Middle East as a whole. Here are 5 things you need to know to understand the “Kexit”: 1. … Continue reading 5 things you need to know to understand the Kurdish independence referendum

“Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

“Rain begins with a single drop.” If you’re looking for some inspiration this week, look no further than Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif’s recent book, Daring to Drive. It tells the story of a fearless Saudi woman who went from living in a poverty, to being radicalised by her extremist education, to risking her life … Continue reading “Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia