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President’s Message

Bernard Reilly
President, The Center for Research Libraries


This issue of the Center for Research Library’s newsletter focuses on the Middle East. We include here items of interest on the Arab Diaspora as well, such as the profile of Kansas State University professor Michael Suleiman’s research on Arabs in America. The people and politics of this turbulent part of the world have attracted new interest in the past decade. The recently intensified American engagement in the region and the new waves of Arab immigration to the U.S. in the 1990s have focused the attention of the scholarly and public policy worlds on countries like Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Turkey. As a result, demand for primary source materials from the region have grown at Center-member universities. Sadly, scholars are now discovering that many primary sources on the modern Middle East have disappeared, due to lack of scholarly interest early on.

Fortunately, the Center has been building its research collections on the Middle East for 55 years. Through its Middle East Microform Program, the Center now possesses newspapers, documents, archives, books, and other primary source materials from the Middle East to support in-depth research in this region. Center collections are particularly rich in newspapers published in the region and in communities of the Arab Diaspora. As the list of recent acquisitions published in this issue attests, the Center continues to build its holdings for Middle East studies. Preserving important research materials, even in times when those materials are little used, is the purpose of the Center. Pursuit of this mission, although it defies short-term market economics, is essential to the long-term health of humanities and social science scholarship.