Join MESF and the University of St Andrews’ Dr Fiona McCallum for a lunchtime seminar on Christians in the Middle East and Beyond: Identity, Representation and Security. The discussion will be followed by a informal lunch.

Thursday 12 July 2018

11:30am – 1:00pm

Level 2, Building BC

Deakin University Burwood campus

RSVP to by July 9 for catering purposes.

Download the flyer here.


Two narratives are often employed when considering the status of Middle Eastern Christians. The first narrative often used by Middle Eastern states is that of patriotic citizens loyal to their nation. In contrast, the second narrative popular with some Western policy and societal actors as well as Middle Eastern Christian diaspora activists, perceives them as a persecuted religious minority in need of protection from the West. This paper will engage with and explore these two narratives by focusing on three key themes: identity, representation and security. It will be argued that the three factors are interdependent but must be considered together when accounting for the current situation of Middle Eastern Christians. In particular, the paper will discuss the impact of the 2011 Arab Uprisings in relation to political and societal status as well as discrimination, violence and dispersal. Increasing migration has led to the formation of diaspora communities and their experiences in navigating the same issues will also be explored, focusing primarily on Coptic, Assyrian and Iraq communities in the UK.


Dr Fiona McCallum is a Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Her research expertise is Middle Eastern Christians especially state-church-societal relations, religious leadership and diaspora. She is the author of Christian Religious Leadership in the Middle East: The Political Role of the Patriarch (2010) and several articles on the political role of Christians in the Middle East including in Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Church and State, Journal of Religion and Europe and Third World Quarterly. From 2013-15, she was the Project Leader of the collaborative research project ‘Defining and Identifying Middle Eastern Christian Communities in Europe’ funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). She is also the co-founder of the Christians in the Middle East Research Network.