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Andrea Zerbini joins CBRL's British Institute in Amman as Assistant Director

Andrea Zerbini joins CBRL's British Institute in Amman as the new Assistant Director

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Alta’ir: a new Jordan - Durham Creative Collaboration

The CBRL are delighted to be partnering with Durham Book Festival/New Writing North, St Mary’s College Durham and UK based Jordanian author Dr Fadia Faquir and the British Council on an exciting new creative partnership, Alta’ir.

The Alta’ir project aims to enable dialogue and cultural exchange between the Arab world and the UK through writing and literature.

As part of a literary exchange between the North East of England and Jordan, Durham Book Festival is now inviting proposals from writers based in the North East of England to travel to Jordan on a funded month-long residency at CBRL’s British Institute in Amman.

The residency will be an opportunity for a writer to develop their own creative work. It will provide a unique space for a published author from the North of England to reflect and to write and have the opportunity to share their work with Arab audiences. The residency will raise the profile of British writing in Jordan and the Arab world in the UK, in the hope that long-lasting connections between writers in the UK and the Arabic-speaking world are forged.

As part of the residency, the CBRL’s British Institute in Amman will arrange events in and outside of Amman (some of which have parallels with the north of England) and introduce the chosen writer to places of interest in Jordan (including Petra).

During the four-week residency the writer will:

  • Deliver writing workshops/readings that are made accessible to the general public
  • Run workshops outside of Amman in hard to reach communities North and South of Jordan
  • Deliver a discussion event around the work that the writer generates whilst in Jordan
  • Provide 2-4 blogs for the Durham Book Festival about their visit and experiences

The chosen writer will discuss their visit to Jordan and the work it inspired, at an event at the Durham Book Festival on Sunday 14 October. 

In October, a Jordanian writer will travel to the UK for a residency that will coincide with Durham book festival on 14th October 2018.

Fee, Travel and Accommodation

Travel and visa costs will be covered by Durham Book Festival, who will also pay the writer a stipend of £800 (with an additional supplement of £200 for evening meals). Bed, breakfast and lunches will be provided by the British Institute in Amman for the duration of the visit.

For more information and to apply please visit:

Deadline for applications is Thursday 14th June

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CBRL's Mandy Turner presented with the Susan S. Northcutt Award

Congratulations to CBRL’s Mandy Turner, Director of the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem on receiving the Susan Northcutt Award at the International Studies Association annual conference in San Francisco this April. This award recognises Dr Turner’s outstanding work in mentoring early career researchers in academia as well as her valuable contribution to the field of political economy of peace and development processes.

From all her colleagues at CBRL, a huge congratulations Mandy!

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The Egyptian Revolution of 1919: The Birth of the Modern Nation: Call for papers

The Egyptian independence movement in 1919 led to the recognition of Egyptian sovereignty in 1922, an Egyptian constitution in 1923, and Saad Zaghloul’s appointment as the first prime minister of a government elected by suffrage in 1924.

To mark the centenary of the revolution, the British Egyptian Society (BES), the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) and the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) at SOAS University of London are holding a conference on 27-28 March 2019.

Conference themes
The conference will include presentations by Egyptian and international historians and commentators on the causes and events of the revolution and on themes which may include:

  • Egypt in the wider context of post Ottoman political development in the Arab World
  • How the Independence Movement arose and how it was organised
  • The role of women in the Independence Movement
  • The impact on Egyptian Society and minorities and on the Sudan
  • The transition to parliamentary democracy
  • The strategy and tactics of the protests
  • The impact on the arts, literature and painting
  • The British approach and the Milner Commission
  • The historiography of the 1919 revolution
  • The revolution and its influence on the next hundred year

The above list is not exhaustive and is meant to be indicative.

The conference will be organised in different sessions consisting of moderated panel sessions from peer-reviewed submissions and presentations by invited speakers. There will also be sessions with keynote speakers.

Participants and Presenters
The conference will aim at those with an interest in the post Ottoman period in the region,
British Egyptian relations, modern Egyptian history, and developments in Egypt over the last
hundred years, including historians, students, politicians and government, diplomacy and the
general public. It will seek to throw new light on the events of 1919 and their impact on Egypt,
Britain, and the wider world.
The criteria for the selection of submissions are:

(i) focus on the topic and addressing relevant themes (see above for an indication of
relevant themes);
(ii) quality of work and analytical rigour and
(iii) contributors’ track records in research in the field.

The conference will cover travel and lodging costs of those presenting a full paper. We plan
to publish a selection of the presented papers at the conference.

Instructions for Submission
Please provide the following:
(i) An abstract of the paper being proposed for presentation (maximum of 500
(ii) Short CV(s) of the author(s).
Please email to:

Key Dates

  • The deadline for abstract submission is 30/06/2018. Please email your abstract to
  • Decisions on abstracts will be communicated by 31/07/2018
  • Full papers are required by 11/01/2019

British Egyptian Society (BES)
BES was set up in 1990 to further British Egyptian relations outside politics. It holds regular public meetings, lectures, debates and events in the UK in support of this aim and has contributed grants in support of Egyptian scholars and of Egyptian museum specialists and conservators on attachment to the British Museum. It has held two major international conferences in collaboration with LMEI: ’50 Years since Suez: From Conflict to Collaboration’ at SOAS in 2006 (proceedings published by Saqi) and ‘Education the Best Investment’ by simultaneous broadcast between Cairo University and SOAS in 2012.
The London Middle East Institute (LMEI)
The aim of the LMEI, through education and research, is to promote knowledge of all aspects of the Middle East including its complexities, problems, achievements and assets, both among the general public and with those who have a special interest in the region. In this task it builds on two essential assets.
LMEI is based in London, a city which has unrivalled contemporary and historical connections and communications with the Middle East including political, social, cultural, commercial and educational aspects. Secondly, the LMEI is at SOAS, the only tertiary educational institution in the world whose explicit purpose is to provide education and scholarship on the whole Middle East from prehistory until today.
Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL)
CBRL is the UK’s academic hub for the humanities and social sciences in the near Middle-East. CBRL is an independent, not-for-profit charity that conducts, supports and promotes a wide range of world-class research – from Palaeolithic archaeology to contemporary social science. CBRL’s history dates to 1919 with the founding of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Today, CBRL has an office in London and two regional research institutes: the Kenyon Institute in East Jerusalem and the British Institute in Amman as well as a strong regional network that includes Jordan, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Cyprus and the Syrian diaspora. CBRL publishes two peer-reviewed international journals; Levant and Contemporary Levant and holds regular lectures, workshops and conferences at its international research institutes, at the British Academy in London and in partnership with UK academic institutions.

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New Undergraduate Dissertation Prizes for 2018

We are pleased to announce two new undergraduate dissertation prizes* in the field of Levantine studies for the academic year 2018:

  • Levantine archaeology or history: the CBRL Prize for a final-year undergraduate dissertation, or major research paper


  • Contemporary Levantine studies: the CBRL Prize for a final-year undergraduate dissertation, or major research paper

*major final-year research papers are acceptable from Departments where there is no dissertation.

We invite heads of departments or chairs of departmental examination boards to nominate one final year dissertation in one of the above subject areas.

The dissertation should be the best in the subject area (with a first-class mark), should focus on a topic relating to Levantine studies whether ancient or modern, should make an original contribution to research debates, and be of excellent quality.

Nominations will enter into a national competition for the CBRL Dissertation Prizes.



£250, plus one-year membership of CBRL (includes CBRL journal Levant or Contemporary Levant) and acknowledgement on the CBRL website.


Nomination procedure

1) Summer 2018: nominations should be made at undergraduate exam boards. Examiners/supervisors should make a case for the nomination (on the nomination form supplied); the student should be informed that their dissertation has been nominated for the prize; student contact details should be given on the form.

2) End of July 2018: deadline for department to send electronic PDF copy of nominated dissertation together with nomination form. 

3) October 2018: students and departments to be informed of successful outcomes.

4) December 2018: CBRL Prize winners invited to AGM at British Academy for award.

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Call for Papers - 2018 Prize for Best Article

Contemporary Levant is pleased to announce the launch of its annual CBRL Prize for Best Article. The award will recognize excellent research and scholarship that will advance our understanding of the Levant region. For more information about Contemporary Levant, please see here.  

A committee from the CBRL and the editorial board of Contemporary Levant will select the best article. The winner of the prize will receive the amount of £100 and will be presented with a certificate of recognition at the CBRL annual general meeting held in December.


Eligibility: this is an open call. We are looking for original unpublished articles from scholars in different stages of their careers and from different disciplines (anthropology, sociology, politics, religion and theology, cultural studies, modern history, social geography, media, film studies and literature). 


Submission: articles between 8000 and 10000 words (including abstract and footnotes) should be submitted as an electronic version to Dr Alice Stefanelli:


Deadline: The deadline for submission is 31st July, 2018.


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CBRL Director, Professor Bill Finlayson


The Council for British Research in the Levant has announced that its long-serving Director, Professor Bill Finlayson, has left his post, effective 31 March 2018.

Bill’s long and distinguished association with CBRL began in 1999 shortly after the formal merger of the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History (BIAAH) with the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (BSAJ), when he was appointed Regional Director operating from Amman. 

One of his early achievements was in completing the merger process, and in re-establishing an institutional presence in East Jerusalem at the former BSAJ premises, now the Kenyon Institute.  In 2003 he moved the British Institute in Amman, as it then became, to its current premises in Tla’ Al-Ali. 

Bill played a major role in transforming the CBRL from a small archaeological research base into a multi-disciplinary research body with a vibrant research culture that reflects the wide disciplinary remit requested by the CBRL’s main sponsor, the British Academy.

His own research on the Neolithic helped ensure the CBRL’s strong international reputation as a leading archaeological research centre, working in partnerships with Jordanian, British, European and American colleagues. Highlights included his excavations with Professor Steven Mithen at Wadi Faynan 16, a substantial PPNA settlement in southern Jordan, his heritage and experimental archaeological research at Beidha and his excavations at Dhra’.  

Bill also brought cultural heritage management skills to the CBRL, leading to new collaborations with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and Ministry of Tourism within a new inter-disciplinary framework.

CBRL’s operations broadened under Prof Finlayson’s leadership and the increasing volume of research being undertaken in Syria drove a CBRL strategy to expand its operations into Syria until the war erupted in 2011 and the initiative had to be abandoned.

Bill relocated to London from 2011 in a new post as CBRL's UK Director, providing overall supervision for the development of the institutes in Amman and Jerusalem led respectively by Dr Carol Palmer and Dr Mandy Turner.  At the same time he took responsibility for extending CBRL's network among British universities, for developing research excellence, for ensuring the publication of CBRL's research in Levant and Contemporary Levant, and for engaging in the increasingly crucial business of securing continued funding through the British Academy.  In this he achieved major successes not only on behalf of CBRL but also for the other British International Research Institutes (BIRI).


The Chairman of CBRL, James Watt, commented:  "Bill has countless friends in the world of archaeological research and across the Levant, as well as in the wider range of disciplines in which CBRL has been working, as well as among BIRI counterparts.  He has made a great contribution to the success of CBRL as well as to research into the archaeology of the Neolithic, on which he is a recognised authority.  He leaves CBRL with the good wishes of all for his continuing work in this field and for his professional future in general."

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Launch of Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant: The Archaeology and History of the Latin East

Dr Micaela Sinibaldi, Acting Deputy Director at our Kenyon Institute and Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University on the launch of the 2016 volume, Crusader Landscapes in the Medieval Levant: The Archaeology and History of the Latin East.

Upon his retirement at Cardiff University, Prof. Denys Pringle’s colleagues suggested a Festschrift – an updated overview of Crusader Archaeology and History in the Levant. Along with three colleagues, all Denys' former students, Kevin Lewis, Balázs Major, Jennifer Thompson and assisted by Prof. Peter Edbury as editorial consultant, we formed an editorial team and invited potential authors to contribute to the book; their enthusiastic response was nearly overwhelming.

We soon realized that we were faced with a huge challenge: preparing a volume composed of 27 chapters in only 22 months, without any funds secured. Thanks to the participation of so many leading scholars in the field along with a plan to include 105 illustrations, all our funding applications were successful and we were offered a contract with University of Wales Press.

CBRL was the main funding body, not only for the book production, but also for our four book launches: Cardiff, London, Jerusalem and Amman. There was additional funding from the Institute of Historical Research in London, the Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust and the Barakat Trust. Endorsement came from Prof. Hugh Kennedy (School of Oriental and African Studies), Prof. Christopher Tyerman (University of Oxford) and Prof. Jonathan Phillips (Royal Holloway, University of London). 

Denys Pringle at Cardiff University with three of the book editors, L - R: Jennifer Thompson, Micaela Sinibaldi and Balázs Major. (Photo (c) Zsolt Wagner)

A conference at Cardiff University in honour of Denys Pringle was the ideal opportunity for the volume’s authors to present their contributions with an initial launch. Organised by a team of Denys’ PhD students, the conference took place over two days in September 2016. 

The book presentation at Cardiff University at the end of the conference in honour of Denys Pringle.  (Photo by Michael Fulton)

At a second book launch at the British Academy in London, Prof. Jonathan Phillips gave a lecture on the memory of the Crusades.

Denys Pringle at the British Academy in London with three of the book editors (from left: Kevin Lewis, Micaela Sinibaldi and Jennifer Thompson) after the lecture offered by Jonathan Phillips, second from right. (Photo by Elizabeth Lewis).

The volume was launched internationally with an event at CBRL’s Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem in October 2016 at which Denys Pringle gave a lecture on the walls of Ascalon, his current field project; many of our authors based locally were present for the event.

For the April 2017 launch in Amman, we partnered with the Jordan Museum who provided a fitting venue for an event that was attended by the Italian Ambassador to Jordan. On this occasion I presented a lecture on Petra in the Crusader period, one of the chapters of our volume. The Jordan Times published a review of the event here.

 The book launches were a great opportunity to thank the authors for their important contributions and to recognise the generous support of our sponsors. As editors, we are proud of the volume we have put together, which involves many world-class scholars. The book offers and an updated overview on the field of Crusader studies, which is still a very vibrant one.

Thank you to all those who hosted and helped with the organisation of these book launches - these events were a fantastic opportunity to share our work. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to my colleagues co-editors for the dedication, passion and professional work they have put into this challenging but certainly very exciting and rewarding project.

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