Institute for Middle East Studies

Opportunities for IMES students

The Institute for Middle East Studies has a variety of opportunities available to IMES students. Information on the majority of them is listed below.

With the start of the new semester, now is a great time to think about pursuing your interests outside the classroom with one of GW's student organizations, including the Arabic Language Club, GWU Turkish Student Association, The George Washington University Student Branch of the Women in International Security DC Chapter, and many more. Check out all the student groups here!

Please note: When applying or making inquiries about any of the opportunities listed below, please mention the topic of the opportunity in the subject line.

Internship Opportunities

Internships provide students with hands-on skills, practical experience, valuable contacts, and a competitive edge in the job market. The vast majority of graduate students at the Elliott School participate in internships and part-time or full-time jobs while enrolled in the program. Middle East Studies students are encouraged not only to study abroad, but also to work in the region.

Previously, Elliott School students have interned and worked at a wide range of institutions, including:

  • The American Embassy in Morocco
  • U.S. State Department
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • The Council on Foreign Relations
  • The Woodrow Wilson Center
  • National Democratic Institute

More information on internships is available to through the Elliott School's Office of Career Development.

The Elliott School Graduate Student Career Development office offers a limited number of competitive grants for currently enrolled Elliott School graduate students participating in international non-paid or low-pay internships. Additionally, GWU offers the Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund award for unpaid U.S. or international internships. Please email for more information.

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Language Training

The Aramex-GW Student Fund: this partnership with Aramex provides resources to allow IMES students to volunteer with NGOs based in the Middle East, where they acquire language skills while working side-by-side with regional activists and social entrepreneurs. These NGO internships allow students to participate in the development of their host country, build relationships and experience in the NGO sector, and gain deeper exposure to local culture. Duration of the program is a minimum of six weeks. Grants are typically around $4,500 - $5,000 and availability is restricted to graduate students in the Middle East Studies M.A. program. The announcement for applications is sent in mid-November.
Contact: Shana Marshall;

IMES Language Study Grants: IMES provides funds to offset the cost of summer language study in several modern Middle East languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, or Kurdish) at an approved overseas language program. Eligible students include undergraduate Middle East Studies majors; graduate students in the Middle East Studies M.A. program; graduate students in the International Affairs M.A. program (with a concentration in the Middle East); and PhD students completing doctoral work related to the Middle East. Grants are typically in the $3,500 range.  The announcement for grant applications is sent in mid-November.
Contact: Shana Marshall;

Arabic Conversation Practicum: The Middle East Studies M.A. program maintains a part-time Arabic instructor who holds weekly one-on-one tutoring sessions at the Institute for Middle East Studies office suite in the Elliott School. These sessions are free to students enrolled in the Middle East Studies M.A. program.
Contact: Kate Getz;

Turkish and Persian Tutoring Stipend: All Middle East Studies M.A. students using Persian or Turkish for their required proficiency examination are eligible for a $500 stipend to finance private one-on-one tutoring from qualified local instructors.
Contact: Kate Getz;

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Research Opportunities

IMES RAs: Each Fall semester, the Institute for Middle East Studies issues a call for M.A. students interested in serving as paid Research Assistants for individual IMES faculty members. The positions are competitive, and the number of spots varies depending on faculty need (typically 3-6 spots). Hours also vary, but average about 10/week. Applicants are matched with faculty members according to a variety of criteria, including similar research interests and previous experience, and are expected to assist the faculty member with his or her current research projects.


Title VI Curriculum Design Project: The Institute for Middle East Studies at GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs employs graduate students to help develop curriculum units for its K-12 teacher-training program. Each curriculum designer is responsible for developing original, in-depth curriculum units on subjects pertaining to the Middle East.  In addition to developing curriculum units, each curriculum designer will also be responsible for attending the IMES teacher-training workshops (two-to-three per semester on Saturdays) and developing at least one corresponding lesson plan relating the workshop’s theme

Contact: Alexandra Perrotti,

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Careers in National Security Luncheon Series

Several times each semester, the Institute for Middle East Studies invites a professional in the Middle East foreign policy community to speak with a small group of M.A. students about their experiences and career path. The luncheons are advertised to sduends via e-mail.

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Middle East Studies Workshop Series

The workshop series brings in top scholars from across the country to present their works-in-progress. The goal of the series is to provide students of Middle East politics with an opportunity to conduct a meaningful exchange with leading scholars in the field--building a more robust intellectual community at GW. Draft manuscripts are circulated in advance, and one student will be chosen to deliver structured remarks on the manuscript, followed by a free-flowing discussion. Open to advanced IMES M.A. students and PhD students in the Political Science Department. Regular participation is required.

More information on the Middle East Studies Workshop Series can be found by visiting its webpage here.

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Independent Research Funding

TRE (Travel—Research—Engagement) Grants: Open to advanced graduate students and faculty, both GW and external. Awards of up to $3,000 are offered to finance research travel to the Middle East in support of an ongoing academic research project. For more information, visit:

Contact: Mary Casey;

Capstone Research Support: Students in the MESP M.A. program are provided with a modest grant to finance overseas travel in support of completion of their required Capstone (thesis) project.

Contact: Shana Marshall;

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IMES hosts numerous events over the course of the year, including book launches, panel discussions, featured speaker talks, and research colloquia. These include events hosted by the Institute’s Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and the Middle East Policy Forum (MEPF).  For more information on events (past, present, and future), please visit our events page.

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Resource Materials

IMES Library: The IMES Library contains a number of core texts and recently released books, as well as periodicals (Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs); regional newspapers (Haaretz, Jerusalem Post); and films and literary works (in English, Persian and Arabic). For a full list of the books in the IMES library, please visit the library page.

Students can also stop by the library to look through the Institute’s Study Abroad Resource Index, which contains literature on a large number of study abroad programs and language training opportunities in the Middle East.

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Student Initiatives

IMES students are encouraged to explore collaborative initiatives with their classmates, such as periodic Film Nights, scheduled Arabic-language coffee chats, networking events, and similar initiatives. Resources may be available to assist students in launching and organizing such activities.

Contact: Alexandra Perrotti, Education & Outreach Coordinator,

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External Funding Opportunities

The Office of Graduate Admissions has compiled information regarding many opportunities for applicants and students to help fund their education. Please visit their website for additional information.

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IMES Staff Contacts

Dr. Marc Lynch, IMES Director;

Dr. Shana Marshall, IMES Associate Director;

Alexandra Perrotti, Education & Outreach Coordinator,

Kate Getz, IMES Operations Manager;

Mary Casey, Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) Assistant Director of Public Affairs;

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Upcoming Events

The Institute for Middle East Studies will resume our events in the Fall semester. Have a great summer!

Sign Up

Join the IMES mailing list to receive information about our upcoming events and activities. Click here.

Contact Us

Phone: 202.994.9249
Fax: 202.994.4055
Twitter: @IMESatGWU

Institute for Middle East Studies
1957 E Street, N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20052