Director of the Middle East Studies Center
325 Oxley Hall
1712 Neil Ave
Areas of Expertise
- The Middle East
- Central Asia
- Soviet Central Asia
- PhD in Political Science from Indiana University
Dr. Alam Payind is the Director of the Middle East Studies Center (MESC), a senior teaching member of the International Studies Program and the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department, a liaison for the Office of International Students and Scholars, and a member of University's International Programs Task Force. Born and raised in Afghanistan, and previously a holder of government and academic positions in Kabul, he speaks Pashto, Dari and Urdu with native fluency. He continues to conduct field work, provide consultations on a regular basis in Afghanistan and has visited the country 12 times since September 11th, 2001. He travels extensively within the Afghan borders, and during recent trips he has been witness to the Taliban's resurgence in Kandahar, Helmand, and Zabul.
Dr. Payind is a founding member of the National Council of Area Studies Center Directors, and a board member and former president of the Eastern Consortium in Persian and Turkish. His concurrent appointments and position on the task force provide MESC with a strong link to the academic units charged with administering and realizing the university’s international vision and education goals. Dr. Payind has a direct impact on students lives as an advisor for Middle Eastern students adjusting to American educational system and culture, and to American students majoring in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. He teaches International Studies 2200: Introduction to the Modern Middle East, and the interdisciplinary upper-division International Studies 5645: Contemporary Issues in the Middle East, offered through International Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He co-directs the Center's Summer Institute on Middle Eastern Cultures with Professor Merry Merryfield, and has taken the lead role in organizing area studies centers' support for her online course and web site on global studies and world cultures. In addition, he provides vital consultations to press and news agencies on Middle Eastern affairs and delivers an average of 70 public lectures on Middle Eastern issues per year.