James Gelvin, interim co-director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, received the 2015 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Undergraduate Education Award at the association's annual meeting in mid-November The award honors individuals in the "craft of undergraduate teaching, showcasing pedagogical and curricular achievements in Middle East Studies."
The UCLA professor specializes in the social and cultural history of the modern Middle East, particularly that of Greater Syria (the area that includes present day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories) during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The major academic association of Middle East specialists in the United States, MESA is a constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Council of Area Studies Associations and the National Humanities Alliance. Its Undergraduate Education Award recognizes Gelvin's "outstanding commitment to the practice and substance of undergraduate teaching, through his classroom performance, his training of future generations of undergraduate teachers, and his well-received undergraduate textbooks." The association's announcement added, "James Gelvin's accomplishments as a teacher and the teaching materials he has produced for others exemplify the kind of undergraduate teacher this award is meant to recognize."
Educated at Columbia and Harvard, Gelvin taught history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston College and Harvard University before joining UCLA. He has also been a visiting professor at the American University in Beirut.
His most well known works include Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (University of California, 1998), The Modern Middle East: A History (Oxford, 2004; now in its 4th edition);Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War (Cambridge, 2005; now in its 3rd edition), and The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2012; newly revised in 2015). He also recently co-edited, together with UCLA's Nile Green, Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print, 1850–1930 (University of California, 2014).
The UCLA International Institute congratulates Professor Gelvin on his award and lifelong contribution to undergraduate education.