Asfar was established for two key reasons. First, to promote interest in the Middle East in a full range of subjects, beyond politics and international relations. Second, to encourage aspiring writers; photographers; thinkers; editors; and others to develop their skills and promote their talents on an accessible platform – an online journal.
The e-Journal is a great achievement belonging to all those who contributed to it, from the Editorial Team (Chloe, Katherine, Laura, and Daniel), the Marketing & Communications Team (Sarah and Paul), and, most especially, to all our writers and photographers.
Almost all of Asfar’s contributors are under 30 years of age, with a large proportion being students focusing on the study of the Middle East. I consider it a privilege to have worked with them all on this inaugural edition and to have learnt about their ideas and passions for the Middle East.
In this first edition, we get the impressions of a traveller on the rise of political tourism in the West Bank; the meaning of Solidere today in Beirut; a generation on hold in Oman; and discover the issues surrounding Hydro-Politics in Yemen. Other articles include Guerrilla warfare during the Algerian War; the effects of the Syrian Uprising on children; the Muslim Diaspora’s views on Palestine; a review on Al-Qaeda in Yemen; alchemy and the Middle East; the development of environmentalism in the UAE; and a traveller’s wanderings in the lost Armenian capital in north-eastern Turkey.
Also, Asfar is lucky to be able to include the works of three aspiring photographers through Forgotten Lebanon and the al-ardha collections. And although there is perhaps a strong hint of political science in this edition, it only motivates our Editorial Team more to encourage our writers and photographers to consider different subjects in their contributions to the e-Journal in future.
Thanks go to Richard Willson, Project Manager, for assisting with the development of Asfar and, most importantly, for keeping the passion alive, and to Craig Encer, Web Editor, for putting up with the endless demands in relation to the website and the e-Journal. Also, thanks go to all those organisations and individuals who provided guidance, ideas and who eagerly promoted the e-Journal.