The board of the NSMES is elected for a three year period at the Nordic Conference which takes place every third year.

The current board is:

Mark Sedgwick is professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Department of the Study of Religion in the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University in Denmark. He is responsible for the program in Arab and islamic Studies and the Islamic Cultures and Societies Research Unit. His research interests are in Sufism, global Islam, and terrorism. His research covers both the Arab world, especially Egypt, where he lived for twenty years, and the West.
  • Charlotte Lysa (Norway): Vice-chair
Charlotte Lysa is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo. Her main focus is refugee protection in Saudi Arabia. Her PhD is from the University of Oslo, with research focussing on women issues and social change in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
  • Laura Wickström (Finland): Secretary
Laura Wickström is a PhD-Candidate and currently specializes in Islam and ecology within the Department of Comparative Religion at Åbo Akademi University. She has a master’s degree in public international law with specialization in human rights law as well. She worked as research-coordinator at the Finnish Institute in the Middle East in Lebanon 2015-2016.
Email: secretary@nsmes.orgKirstine Sinclair is Associate Professor at the Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, Department of History, University of Southern Denmark. Her theoretical interests involve modernity theory, social movement theory, place, space and the sensory turn. Empirically, her work focuses on Muslim minorities in the West, as well as on transnational Muslim organisations and Islamism.
  • Olof Heilo (Sweden)
Olof Heilo is director of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. He wrote his PhD in Byzantine and Early Islamic history at the University of Vienna and has taught Modern and Middle Eastern history at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. His main focus is on conceptions of history and identity between Europe and the Middle East.
Thorir Jonsson Hraundal is a PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Bergen, and currently a lecturer and director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Iceland. His research is focused on medieval Arabic sources on the eastwards expansion of Scandinavians during the Viking age.
Tiina Hyyppä is doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. She specializes in the Syrian war and in civil governance during the war. Her wider research interests include civilian survival strategies and political violence. She holds an MA in Islamic Studies and is a member of editorial board of Babylon, Nordic Journal for Middle Eastern Studies.
  • Kjartan Orri Þórsson (Iceland)
Kjartan Orri Þórsson teaches courses on Iran at the University of Iceland. How work focuses on modern Iran, and the modernisation and nation-building that took place in the 20th century. His interests involve food culture, music, literature and its historical context. He holds degrees in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Copenhagen. 
Jacob Høigilt is professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Oslo. He does research on language, ideology, and media in the Arab Middle East and  North Africa, concentrating mostly on contemporary issues. Geographically, his research focuses on Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Tunisia.
Oliver Scharbrodt is Professor of Islamic Studies at Lund University. He researches modern, contemporary and classical forms of Islam, employing both historical and ethnographic research methods. His interests include modern Islamic reform, Shia Islam, Sufism, Islamic messianism and as well as the historical and contemporary presence of Muslims in Europe. He is particularly interested in making current theories and methods in Religious Studies relevant to the academic study of Islam.

Chairs of the NSMES

The chairs of the NSMES have been:

  • Heikki Palva (Helsinki) 1989-1992
  • Tryggve Kronholm (Uppsala) 1992-1998
  • Bjørn Olav Utvik (Oslo) 1998-2007
  • Jakob Skovgaad-Petersen (Copenhagen) 2007-11
  • Leif Stenberg (Lund) 2011-19
  • Mark Sedgwick (Aarhus) 2019-


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