The first efforts in this direction led to a joint British-French conference in Durham in 1988, where the idea of a new body was first formed. A preparatory European committee was set up, where also other societies such as the Dutch, Nordic and Swiss were brought in, leading to the second British-French conference in Paris in July 1990. Here Eurames was formally established, with André Raymond as its first president.
In 1992, Derek Hopwood of Oxford took over the presidency, and a small secretariat was established, first in Exeter, then in Durham. In 1998-9, Daniel Panzac of Aix-en-Provence took over the presidency. From 1999 Günter Meyer of Mainz is president of Eurames. In the period since its formation, the number of member societies in Eurames has grown steadily, through the adhesion of existing bodies (notably the Middle East Librarians Committee, our first trans-European member), or by the creation of new societies, thus in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain among others. The process is on-going, and various efforts are under way, both in Western Europe, and not least in Central and Eastern Europe for the formation of new societies for Middle Eastern Studies.
The activities of the various member bodies are decided independently. The European association restricts itself to those which can promote contact between these societies and between scholars in different European countries, as well as between these and the Middle East. Among the efforts that Eurames has organized (alone or with national partners) are:
Every three years, Eurames holds a pan-European conference on Middle Eastern Studies. The first (after the founding conference in 1990) was in Warwick in 1993, in cooperation with BRISMES, with the theme "International relations and the Middle East". The second European conference was in Aix-en-Provence in July 1996, this time in association with AFEMAM (see here for more detail). The third Conference was held in Ghent, Belgium, 25-27 September 1999.
In 2002, Eurames will co-host the 1st World Conference on Middle Eastern Studies, which will then take the place of the 4th European conference. Co-organized with MESA of the Americas, and hopefully other regional associations in Asia and Oceania, it is scheduled for 11-14 September 2002, and will take place in Mainz in Germany (not far from Frankfurt). It will also incorporate the annual German (DAVO) and British (Brismes) Middle East studies conferences.
In 1993-95, the Association published its own Newsletter which was distributed to all members of the individual societies. In this newsletter information from the Association was joined with research news from the various countries; conferences that was being organized, scholarships, positions, books etc. As several national societies now publish their own newsletters with this kind of information (thus e.g. the British, German, Nordic, Italian and French societies), European news is now being channeled through these national newsletters.
In 1993, the first edition of the directory European Expertise on the Middle East and Africa was published, edited by Emma Murphy, Gerd Nonnemann and Neil Quilliam. It was a substansial volume with research and contact information for about 800 scholars across Europe. The directory is currently beginning to show its age, and the Assocation is planning to update and revise it for a new edition. The first directory was published with support form the EU, and we are currently seeking financial support for the process of updating. The aim is to provide the updated catalogue on-line.
On a separate page you will also find a brief survey of scholars and libraries in the member countries, compiled on the basis of information provided by the member societies.
Eurames has also through its network supported to the establishment of pan-European research projects organized by other bodies. Such projects or networks are the Erasmus / Socrates network on Middle Eastern History and the European Science Foundation's major project on the "Individual and Society in the Mediterranean Muslim World" lasting from 1996 to 2000. We present further information about the latter project elsewhere on these pages, including reports from its May 1996 Granada conference.
From 1999, Eurames will take the initiative to set up separate workings groups / networks around specific topics. These groups should be interdisciplinary and international research networks will make it much easier to exchange information on current research projects, organise new projects, find partners from other European counties to apply for EU grants, coordinate panels for conferences, and select contributions for journals or edited books, and similar. The first groups are likely to be on Water issues and on Middle East cinema. When they are set up, they will appear under the heading of this website.
It has always been a priority for the Association to improve not only contact between scholars in the European countries internally, but also between these and the Middle East. Partly this is done through creating links with similar bodies in the Middle East, such as ALMA (Association de liaison entre Centres de Documentation sur le Monde Arabe) in Casablanca, partly through working for providing improved research facilities in the Middle East for European scholars. As the long-term goal of setting up pan-European reserach centres in Middle Eastern countries remains long-term, efforts have concentrated on expanding the basis for existing national centres. Thus, the French centre in Cairo, CEDEJ, has now opened both its doors and its scholarships to other European scholars, and the recent scholarships for the French centre in Tehran was also open to all EU scholars. This are efforts which Eurames has supported. Eurames is, through its nature, not a large-scale organization, but attempts primarily through its nature as a network, or better a network or networks, to be a point of communication and information exchange throughout Europe.