Suleiman Chair

From the popular unrest of the Arab Spring, to the rise of Islamism, and sustained oil abundance in the region - the Middle East and the Arab world remain extremely important player to the global stage.

By the generosity of the late John Hofmeister (B.A. in Political Science, 1971; M.A. in Political Science, 1973), former President of Shell Oil and founder and CEO of the non-profit Citizens for Affordable Energy, the Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies was established in honor of Michael W. Suleiman.


Built on a legacy

Through the efforts of the Chair's honoree, Michael W. Suleiman, K-State University developed a widespread reputation for excellence in the study of Middle Eastern and Arab-American issues. A faculty member for over forty years, Suleiman was a leader in the study of Arab politics and a pioneer of the study of Arab-American identity.

Dr. Suleiman was born in Tiberias, Palestine but relocated to Jordan when the Nakba ("disaster") hit his family. In Jordan, he attended the Bishop's School for Boys in Amman, before moving to England in1955. The following year, he would move to the United States and receive his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1965. Upon completion of his graduate studies, he started his academic career as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at K-State in 1965, where he would eventually become a full and distinguished professor in 1972. He also served as the department's Head from 1975 to 1982.

Michael W. Suleiman became the leading expert in the Middle East Studies by publishing numerous books and articles, receiving prestigious awards, and serving in several professional organizations in the field. He was a leader in Arab-American ethnic studies and history, with his book, Arabs in America, remaining one of the most authoritative volume in the Arab-American education. Dr. Suleiman's contributions to not only K-State, but the world, are numerous and invaluable. To learn about Dr. Suleiman's life and achievements, please see his biography here.


Continuing success

The Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies is held presently by Dr. Sabri Ciftci, a professor in the Department of Political Science at K-State who is well known for his research on the Middle East, Arab public opinion, and Islam and democracy.

Dr. Ciftci brings his passion for Middle East studies both inside and outside the classroom. He has received notable teaching awards, is regularly invited to present his work to universities around the world, and has published many literary works on the subject. His contributions continue a robust intellectual community centered around Middle Eastern politics and issues at K-State.

During his time as Chair, Dr. Ciftci has organized conferences and events, as well as sponsored and hosted speakers under the Middle East Speaker Series. This speaker series, established by Dr. Ciftci, has helped further grow the visibility and vibrancy of the Middle Easterner and Arab-American community at K-State. It has also brought many prominent figures in the field to campus, including; Dr. Amaney Jamal, Dr. F Gregory Gause III, Dr. Shibley Telhami, and Dr. Ramazan KiliniƧ. In the fall of 2020, Dr. Ciftci founded the Middle East Studies Minor, an interdisciplinary program involving the Political Science, History, Modern Languages, Communication Studies, and Philosophy departments.


Moving forward

The Suleiman Chair and the activities associated with it, help to expand our knowledge on issues that will remain relevant for generations to come. K-State has a long history as a leader in the study of Arab and Middle Eastern issues, and we ask for your support to maintain this history of excellence. Located near the geographical center of the continental United States, Kansas State University's strength in Middle Eastern studies not only draws on the talent of these many and varied students, it also builds upon the university's strengths in related areas. Oil and security issues are informed by the University's graduate program in Security Studies. The university is also developing into a national research hub for biological and agricultural security issues, topics that have increasing relevance for the water strapped Middle East (BioSecurity Research Institute).

A gift to the Suleiman Chair not only honors Michael W. Suleiman's legacy, it builds upon a tradition of success in the study of Middle Eastern affairs here at K-State.

Ciftci and Suleiman


If you would like to discuss the Suleiman Chair or Middle Eastern Studies at Kansas State University, please do not hesitate to contact us at (785)532-6842, or send an email to Dr. Ciftci (

Department of Political Science
Kansas State University
802 Mid Campus Dr. South
101D Calvin Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506