Middle East North Africa South Asia Initiative

Group photo of students supporting MENASA Initiative

Black Lives Matter:

Within the Middle East North Africa South Asia (MENASA) community, anti-Blackness and colorism exist and are pervasive today. The colonial wave spreading throughout the African and South Asian continents during the late 1800s was a passageway for white supremacy and racial arrogance. Indigenous African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian identities and cultures were suppressed, leaders humiliated, and a gulf in the reconstruction of novel identities was created.  The MENASA Initiative is committed to directly address these racist ideologies through programs beginning this summer and as ongoing programming indefinitely. Read more.

Our Story

The Middle East, North Africa, South Asia (MENASA) Initiative is a Cultural Resource Centers program with the goal of creating a sixth center to support the MENASA student community at PSU. 

The Initiative started in 2016 when it was included in the Cultural Resource Centers Five-Year Strategic Plan. This Initiative formally recognizes MENASA students (learn more about the MENASA region from Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and their allies who are a critical mass in our spaces yet do not have dedicated services. While our other five cultural centers have demographic data to support their mission, the MENASA community does not. This presents a unique challenge in supporting these scholars. The MENASA Initiative, like our other cultural centers, pivots on race and ethnicity. It is not a religious/spiritual center.

MENASA Initiative Report>

Recent Updates


Contact Us

menasa@pdx.edu | (503) 725-2609

MENASA Initiative Program Coordinator: Ahmed El Mansouri, elman@pdx.edu, (503) 725-2609

(*Please email as we are working remotely*)


Green dollar sign in a brown square

Donate to the MENASA Initiative

Help fund our programs, services, and outreach.

Accessibility Accommodations

There are two accessible entrances to the Smith Memorial Student Union - on the North and East sides of the building. Please see the SMSU floor plan for more information.

We do our best to create events with accessibility in mind. However, if you feel you may need additional accessibility or support in order to fully enjoy any of our programs, please let us know! You may also contact the Disability Resource Center. While Service Animals are always welcome, the Cultural Resource Centers does not allow pets in our spaces.