Cultural Propaganda and Plans for a British University in the Near East

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This essay draws on archival documents to explore the British Empire’s project
of establishing a university in the eastern Mediterranean in the 1930s.
The British possessions in the region were at stake in the aftermath of the
First World War. Since the early 1930s the Foreign Office had been eagerly
planning the establishment of a university in the region in order to make
the local elites familiar with Western culture. Egypt, Palestine, and Cyprus
were considered the most likely locations for the institution. It is argued that
cultural propaganda was perceived by the Foreign Office as an essential
component of the empire’s strategy and legitimacy in its sphere of influence.
Although the project was eventually not realized due to the outbreak of the
Second World War, its significance lies in the demonstration of the British
grand strategy in the eastern Mediterranean during the interwar period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-104
Number of pages17
JournalMediterranean Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date1 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Nationalism
  • imperialism
  • British Empire
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Propaganda


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