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MESA is a non-political learned society that brings together scholars, educators and those interested in the study of the region from all over the world. From its inception in 1966 with 50 founding members, MESA has increased its membership to more than 3,000 and now serves as an umbrella organization for more than sixty institutional members and thirty-nine affiliated organizations. The association is a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Council of Area Studies Associations, and a member of the National Humanities Alliance. As part of its goal to advance learning, facilitate communication and promote cooperation, MESA sponsors an annual meeting that is a leading international forum for scholarship, intellectual exchange and pedagogical innovation. It is responsible for the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the premiere journal on the region, the MESA Bulletin and a quarterly newsletter. An awards program recognizes scholarly achievement, service to the profession and exemplary student mentoring.