In both Arabic and Persian, the term majlis describes a regular gathering of like-minded individuals. It is regularly used in the Arabian Peninsula as a forum for friends and colleagues to meet and discuss political and social developments, to engage in debate, to share views and research, and to network. The Majlis at the ANU will provide a space for scholars and the public to meet and share their thoughts on contemporary events across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It will also provide an opportunity for scholars to present their own original research and hear feedback from their peers.
The Majlis will be held fortnightly starting from Friday 29 April, and is open to the public. We anticipate heaviest participation by graduate students across the ANU and other Canberra-based research institutions, but all are welcome. Meetings will be held on Fridays from 11am to 12pm in the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (Building 127 on Ellery Crescent), and will be catered (we hear the food will be delicious).
Most weeks will focus on a topic that is central to media coverage at that time. For example, Syria is scheduled to hold legislative elections on 13 April, which will allow us to introduce a broader discussion on Syria’s civil war and recent developments in the Levant. Prior to each Majlis, we will share several short articles (of newspaper or journalistic depth) with participants to get the conversation started.
Every third or fourth meeting will focus on a more theoretical or academic topic, and provide an opportunity for scholars to share and receive feedback on their own research. Any member of the Majlis is welcome to recommend a topic of personal interest, and we will do our best to accommodate it. The preference is for subjects that can be linked to contemporary events, but the only requirement is that they be useful to members, and interesting! One of the purposes of the Majlis is to build connections and awareness of research across the ANU, so we look forward to hearing what you’ve been working on, and what you’d like to learn more about.
We will also arrange expert speakers where possible, including those based in the region who will speak via Skype or video chat. If you have a recommendation for an expert speaker, please let us know and we will work them into the schedule.
How to join
The Majlis is free and open to the public, but we prefer that you RSVP for catering purposes. We are currently still in the process of setting up a mailing list, please see our contact form page to join the community.