The Indonesian Society for Middle East Studies (ISMES) is a non-government and non-profit organization which concentrate on research on International studies, especially on Middle East . ISMES was established on Friday January 17, 1997 or Ramadhan 8, 1417 H in Muslim calendar.
It began from a team of researches which for several years studied variety of studies on Middle East . This team came from two different institutions. A. Rahman Zainuddin, Zainuddin Djafar and Amris Hassan from faculty of social and political sciences of the University of Indonesia. Dhurorudin Mashad, M. Hamdan Basyar, and Riza Sihbudi from Center of Research and Development and Regional Politic of the Indonesia Institute of Sciences. In 1994 Centre for Middle East Studies (CMES) was established to accommodate various researchers and those who interested in Middle East . CMES had done various activities. The organization also had published several books, some of which are “ The Profiles of Middle Eastern Countries”, “ Development, Democratization, and the Islamic Revival in Middle East ”. It also published newsletters which were sent to Middle Eastern countries, as a part of CMES publication media. CMES also had visited Egpyt , Turkey and Jordan (which CMES established relations with Arab Thought Forum).
In order to give information to the public within the spirit of professionalism to look toward the future, in 1997 CMES was changed into The Indonesian Society for Middle East Studies (ISMES). This change of name happened in Sari Kuring Melawai Restaurant during the breaking of the fast, which Satrio Arsimunandar, Luthfi Zuhdi and Kusnanto Anggoro (CSIS), was also present. The next step that was to take journalists and professionals as members of ISMES, these journalists and professionals are Smith Alhadar, Satrio Arismunandar, Zaim Ukhrawi, and Taufiqul Hadi. ISMES was also established in Bandung and Yogyakarta .
Since most of Middle East Studies thought came from the West, ISMES wants to look for information straight from its source in Middle East, so that the balance of information on Middle East would be available for the public.
At present the ISMES membership had grown to 30 members who come from various institutions and universities.