This special edition of MEI Viewpoints offers snapshots of sports and the Middle East. The nine essays contained in this volume cover a wide range of interesting topics including media portrayals of minority athletes (Israel), the struggle to maintain soccer as a national pastime in the face of difficult economic and political circumstances (Yemen), soccer as the embodiment of national pride (of Syriacs/Assyrians on the pitch in Sweden and Palestinians in Jordan), female athletes and traditional values (Afghanistan, Tunisia, and Morocco), and basketball as a peacebuilding tool (Arab/Jewish youth in Jerusalem).

This collection is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series that seeks to shed light on various aspects of soccer in the Middle East, on other sports (including profiles of individual sports figures, teams, or matches), and other facets of the relationship between sports and society in the region. Toward that end, we welcome submissions of proposed topics. Interested authors should contact Dr. John Calabrese at