In both Arabic and Persian, the term majlis can describe 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 in Canberra 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 individuals to present their own original research and hear feedback from their peers.
The Majlis in 2017 will be held monthly starting Friday 3 March and is open to the public. We have enjoyed the participation of graduate students across the Australian National University and other Canberra-based research institutions, but all are welcome. Meetings are held on Fridays from 11am to 12pm in the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (Building 127 on Ellery Crescent), and are catered (the food is delicious).
Most weeks will focus on either a topic that is central to media coverage at that time or more enduring thematic issues. For example, we have previously discussed Russian involvement in Syria’s civil war and have considered the theoretical approaches to the study of Islam. Prior to each Friday meeting, we will share several short articles (of newspaper or journalistic depth) with participants to get the conversation started.
Any participant in the Majlis is welcome to recommend a topic that is of interest to them, 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 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 welcome any prior indication of attendance for catering purposes. Please email your interest through the Contact Us form to receive information and updates about the Majlis meetings.