The Gingko Library

The Gingko Library
70 Cadogan Place
Greater London




020 7838 9055

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.

The Gingko Library is a ten-year project of dialogues and publications to preserve and promote education and information on the Middle East and North Africa region.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

9.00 AM- 5.00 PM

Admission charges

Registration for the conference will be live on our website from October 1st 2014 and registration will close by November 7th.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

The Inaugural Gingko Conference 2014

  • 6 — 7 December 2014 9am-5pm


Inaugural Conference
6-7 December 2014
SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies)
and the New College for the Humanities, London

Convened by HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan
and Barbara Haus Schwepcke of the Gingko Library
‘The First World War and its Aftermath: The Shaping of the Middle East’

The Gingko Conference series brings together scholars from the East and the West. The Gingko conferences are designed to complement the Gingko Library, a project to publish one hundred books over the next ten years, presenting the latest work in both Arabic and English across the full range of humanities, social sciences and sciences relating to the Middle East and North Africa. The first Gingko conference, to be held in London on 6–7 December 2014, focuses on the effects of the First World War on the Middle East. Our guest speakers include Khaled Fahmy of the American University in Cairo, Eugene Rogan of the University of Oxford and Alaa Al Aswany multiple award-winning Egyptian writer of The Yacoubian Building (2002) and Democracy is the Answer: Egypt’s Years of Revolution (forthcoming).

The course of the First World War, as it played out in the Middle East and the political and cultural changes around it, shaped the modern Middle East: the Ottoman and the Russian Empires fought each other for supremacy in the region – neither succeeded nor survived the fight. Both sides tried to use notions of Islamic unity and Pan-Arabism to their own advantage: Sultan Mehmed V called for a global Muslim jihad against the Entente Powers, while Britain stirred Pan-Arabism with little intention of honouring promises made in the process. At the end of the First World War four multi-ethnic empires lay in ruins. In the Middle East lines were drawn in the sand, dividing communities which had lived together for centuries. Wilson’s ideals were as powerful an inspiration as Lenin’s communist utopia on nationalist leaders such as ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Tha‘alibi and Saad Zaghloul, but what constituted a nation in the Middle East and North Africa in the aftermath of the First World War? In the end, neither the Tunisian Destour nor the Egyptian Wafd party were allowed to present their case for national self-determination at the Paris Peace Conference. And the only Middle Eastern delegation to attend was the Hejaz, lead by Emir Feisal, who had been promised a united Arabia – a promise betrayed at the end of the First World War.

The inaugural Gingko conference looks at the immediate aftermath of the First World War with a particular focus on how the period began a long process of reshaping the identities of the peoples of the Middle East. How has our understanding of this history changed in both Western and Middle Eastern scholarship? What is the relevance of this history to the self-understanding of the people and politics of the region? What are the implications in terms of the concept of nation state and national boundaries? How did it influence the legitimacy and governance in the region? What lessons can be drawn from this period for both West and East when looking at the challenges and opportunities in the Middle East today?

Delegates and speakers include: Najwa Al-Qattan (Loyaola Marymount); Andrew Arsan (Cambridge); Omar Ashour (Exeter); Beth Baron (City University of New York); Jonathan Conlin (Southampton); Noga Efrati (Hebrew University); Sevinç Elaman (Manchester); Marwa Elshakry (Columbia University); Michael Erdman (SOAS); Mark Farha (Georgetown); Leila Fawaz (Tufts); William Gallois (Exeter); Farangis Ghaderi (Exeter); Dónal Hassett (European University); Robert Irwin (author of For Lust of Knowing); Lorenzo Kamel (Harvard University and Bologna University); Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak (SOAS); Annika Kropf (Erlangen); Driss Maghraoui (Al Akhawayn); John McHugo (author of Syria: From the Great War to Civil War); Yousef Meri (Ludwig Maximilian Universität, Munich); Tarek Osman (writer and broadcaster); Lord David Owen (author of The Hidden Perspective); Jason Pack (Cambridge); Louise Pyne-Jones (Leeds); Laura Robson (Portland State); Anthony Sattin (author of Young Lawrence); Amany Soliman (University of Alexandria); Steven Wagner (Oxford); Max Weiss (Princeton) and Brett Wilson (Macalester).

On Saturday evening the Gingko Conference will be open to the public for what promises to be a fascinating discussion between the Tunisian writer, political scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, Larbi Sadiki, and best-selling Egyptian author and political commentator Alaa Al Aswany. They will be in conversation with Nur Laiq of the International Peace Institute in New York on the theme of ‘Renegotiating Identity in the Aftermath of the Arab Uprisings’. The debate is held on the occasion of the launch of Al Aswany’s new book Democracy is the Answer: Egypt’s Years of Revolution.

The Gingko Library is a charitable organisation with the objective of advancing education concerning Middle Eastern and North African (MENA*) thought. It will carry out this objective through annual conferences, by promoting research and by publishing related material, thus enhancing and disseminating knowledge for the public benefit.

Our conferences will be transnational, multicultural, interfaith events attended by both those with Western backgrounds as well as those from, or with roots in, the MENA region. Our hope is that this will foster dialogue between people of different ethnicities and cultures, and promote mutual understanding based upon shared interests and concerns.

By engaging academics, intellectuals and public figures the Gingko Conference will provide a forum for debate. We also aim to publish the outcomes of the research presented at our conferences, or subsequently submitted, and other scholarly publications related to the region.

For further information please contact:

Farhanah Mamoojee
The Gingko Library
70 Cadogan Place
London SW1X 9AH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7838 9055 Fax: +44 (0)20 7584 9501

To register for the conference from October 1st or to find
out more about the Ginkgo Network visit

*By the term MENA we conceive the region that includes not only the Arab countries,
but also Turkey, Iran, Israel and the Kurdish regions.

Suitable for

  • 18+


SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square

Getting there

Closest tube station is Knightsbridge, and the University is a short walk from Kings Cross Station.

Additional info

Car parking spaces are extremely limited, so we strongly suggest you arrive by tube or foot.


Registration (Prices subject to change) - Please note registration does not open until Oct 1st (

If you wish to attend the conference you must register and pay in full before attending the conference.

The registration fee covers access to the conference sessions on the specified days, including the Saturday evening reception, lunch and all-day refreshments. The fee does not include accommodation or travel costs.

How to register

Please fill out the Online Registration form. The preferred payment method is through PayPal. You will need to fill in your details once you have selected the type of conference ticket you wish to purchase.

You may also be able to pay on the day, but we cannot guarantee that tickets will be available on the door.

Ticket Types:

The Gingko Library has a range of tickets available for the different needs of the attendees, please see the full list below:

Weekend (6th: 9am-7:30pm, 7th: 9am-4:30pm & private event on 5th 7pm) -£100.00

(Please indicate in the form whether you will be attending the breakaway sessions at NCH. Please note, places are limited and availability is striclt

Weekend (Saturday 6th 9am-7:30pm & Sunday 7th 9am-4:30pm) including book launch- £50

Weekend (Saturday 6th 9am-7:30pm & Sunday 7th 9am-4:30pm) including book launch- £30 (Student/Concessions only- valid student ID will be checked at venue)

1-day ticket (cover either Saturday & book launch OR Sunday) – £25

Saturday evening ONLY – book launch – Alaa Al Aswany – Free (please register before attendance)

(Please indicate in the form whether you will be attending the breakaway sessions at NCH. Please note, places are limited and availability is strictly on a first-come-first-serve basis)

All registration and registration payments must be done via this page. Please note the deadline for registration is strictly November 7th 2014.

Please email with any questions.


When becoming a member with the Gingko Library, you become a part of the Gingko Network, an association of scholars of the Middle East and North Africa, based both in region and beyond to facilitate an ongoing dialogue.

To become a part of the Ginkgo Network please click here.


Bookings for this event are non-refundable unless a medical certificate or similar evidence can be produced.