Although the field of women’s studies has experienced phenomenal growth in many countries around the world, most universities in the Arab region do not offer programs or even courses in women’s studies. The process of building women’s studies has been painfully slow. For example, the minor in women’s studies that I developed in 2006 at the American University of Sharjah remains the only such undergraduate program in the Persian Gulf region.

The idea of establishing the United Arab Emirates Gender and Women’s Studies Consortium emerged from a collaboration between Susan Feiner (University of Southern Maine) and me that began in March 2010. We held the consortium’s first conference, “Gender and Women’s Studies in the Arab Region,” on March 7–9, 2012, at the American University of Sharjah. The conference was deemed a great success, attracting over one hundred scholars...

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