MEHumor: Support Students, Spread Humor & Erase Stereotypes

Graphic by Kavosh Maleki; the logo draws on the multiculturally known and claimed, jocular character of Nasreddin.

Support this fundraiser to advance a project on the humor of the Middle East and North Africa, initiated by our own Mostafa Abedinifard.

Founded and led by Dr. Mostafa Abedinifard, Assistant Professor without Review of Persian Literary Culture and Civilization in the UBC Department of Asian Studies, “Middle East Humor: A Digital Docent” (MEHumor) is a digital encyclopedia and archival project focused on the humor of the Middle East and North Africa. Generically organized, the project will collect, introduce, contextualize, and translate examples of various types and forms of historical and contemporary humor produced by authors/artists in, or associated with the MENA region. By combining scholarly precision with accessible language, the project hopes to reach a wide array of users, including for pedagogical purposes, yet also the public, throughout the global community. The aim is to produce a digital, free and open-access database on the humour of the Middle East and North Africa.

This project boasts of the accompaniment of a great team of scholars from around the world:

EDITORIAL BOARD: Omid Azadibougar, Hunan Normal University, China | Seçil Daǧtaș, University of Waterloo, Canada |Fatemeh Nasr Esfahani, Independent Scholar| Mahmud Farjami, Kristiana University College, Norway | Zachary J. Foster, Alumnus at Princeton University | Jay Friesen, University of Alberta, Canada | Perin Gruel, University of Notre Dame, USA |Yesim Kaptan, Kent State University, USA | Elizabeth M. Perego, Princeton University, USA | Jalal Samiee, Independent Scholar, Iran | Cyrus Ali Zargar, University of Central Florida, USA | Massih Zekavat, Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany.

ADVISORY BOARD: Janet Afary, UC, Santa Barbara, USA | Willem Floor, Independent Scholar, USA | Hasan Javadi, Professor Emeritus at UC-Berkeley, USA | Homa Katouzian, Oxford University, UK | Marcel Kurpershoek, New York University, Abu Dhabi | Ulrich Marzolph, Georg-August University, Germany | Mustansir Mir, Youngstown State University, USA | Norma C. Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA | John Perry, Emeritus Professor at the University of Chicago, USA | Paul Sprachman, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, USA | Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, University of Toronto, Canada | Riccardo Zipoli, Professor Emeritus at Ca’ Foscari University, Italy.

The project is being made available with the help of the public, whilst financially supporting many students along the way, by employing them as Research Assistants. Support the project by contributing to the fundraiser – your donation will be directly deposited into the organization’s account and spent to advance the research and production of the online encyclopedia (MEHumor is currently registered as a federal not-for-profit organization in Canada).

The project’s website is planned to be launched by the end of August 2021. In the first phase, the website is hoped to contain a sum of 200 entries under the following categories for several countries: 1. Satirical literature (fiction, poetry, drama); 2. Magazines & periodicals; 3. Cartoons; 4. Film & visual media; 5. Stand-up comedy; 6. Humor in oral culture; and 7. Social network.

Donors will be notified of any updates in the project throughout its advancement. (As a not-for-profit organization, MEHumor cannot issue tax receipts.)

Learn more and donate by accessing the fundraiser link:

How much work has been done?

Thus far, a team of volunteers and research assistants, under the leadership of Dr. Mostafa Abedinifard, have compiled samples on the following countries: Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and Morocco. Translations and contextualization of satirical literature, oral humour, film and visual media, comedians and periodicals are being completed as you read this!


Would like to join the team and become an entry writer?

To become an entry writer, you do not need any credentials or an expertise in humor studies. Only an interest in humor and research and familiarity with a Middle Eastern language will suffice. To receive more details on how to become a contributor, or to ask any questions, please contact

Dr. Abedinifard is grateful to the UBC Work Learn Program as well as the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities for their generous in-kind contributions that have helped to initiate this project.