The Markaz Review (TMR) is a non­prof­it pub­li­ca­tion and vir­tu­al cen­ter that seeks to pro­mote the writ­ers, artists, film­mak­ers and oth­er cre­ative peo­ple of the greater Mid­dle East, gen­er­al­ly thought to include the Arab world, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pak­istan and North Africa. As an online com­mu­ni­ty, TMR is a cre­ative and lit­er­ary des­ti­na­tion that seeks to erase the bound­aries between peo­ples and cel­e­brate culture.


Why Now? Why TMR?


Because we wish to con­tin­ue to speak in our own voic­es, and there is still so much work to do…


In 2020, the New York Times pub­lished a damn­ing report that showed that the vast major­i­ty of the lit­er­a­ture pub­lished in the Unit­ed States since 1950 has been by white writ­ers: “Of the 7,124 books for which we iden­ti­fied the author’s race,” the authors wrote, “95 per­cent were writ­ten by white peo­ple.” In addi­tion, the last time we checked, only about 3% of the lit­er­a­ture pub­lished in the US con­sists of trans­la­tions. To com­pare, as of 2019 one of six books pub­lished in France were translations—roughly 15%.


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TMR con­sis­tent­ly pub­lish­es Arab, Iran­ian and oth­er artists and writ­ers from beyond the Euro­cen­tric pale. We trans­late from Ara­bic, Per­sian, Turk­ish, French and Span­ish. And so the pur­pose and val­ue of The Markaz Review becomes evi­dent: rather than being akin to the mis­sion­ar­ies of yore who brought the Gospel to the world’s per­ceived back­wa­ters, TMR brings the rest of the world to Euro­pean and Amer­i­can shores—or at least the Arab/Muslim world, which includes parts of Africa and Asia.


The Markaz Review or TMR is pub­lished in affil­i­a­tion with The Los Ange­les Review of Books, a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to pro­mot­ing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing rig­or­ous, inci­sive, and engag­ing writ­ing on every aspect of lit­er­a­ture, cul­ture, and the arts.


TMR exists by the sheer grace of our sup­port­ers. Thanks for read­ing, shar­ing and sup­port­ing TMR.


Some History


For near­ly 20 years in Los Ange­les, there was a cul­tur­al arts cen­ter cel­e­brat­ing the sto­ries of peo­ple from the greater Mid­dle East and North Africa—a place called the Lev­an­tine Cul­tur­al Cen­ter (June 2001-June 2015), renamed The Markaz (from July 2015). 


Over the years as a pre­sent­ing orga­ni­za­tion, The Markaz wel­comed an esti­mat­ed 100,000 peo­ple to its diverse pub­lic programs—art exhibits, con­certs, con­fer­ences, fes­ti­vals, lit­er­ary fora, film screen­ings, lan­guage class­es, con­flict-res­o­lu­tion series, com­e­dy shows, the­atri­cal per­for­mances, writ­ing and art work­shops, and much more. In part due to the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic, The Markaz offi­cial­ly closed defin­i­tive­ly on May 31, 2020 as not­ed in the Los Ange­les Times.


The Markaz Review seeks to replace this brick-and-mor­tar des­ti­na­tion with an online plat­form that will be at once glob­al and local.


Shar­ing our sto­ries, our arts and cul­ture, our his­to­ry, and our aspi­ra­tions for a more peace­ful, just world, we come togeth­er in dia­logue. But we are under no illusions—the real­i­ty today is that there is far too much anti-refugee, anti-immi­grant, anti-Arab and anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. Xeno­pho­bia and racism in Europe and the Unit­ed States are ram­pant. TMR is a place to mit­i­gate this neg­a­tive void and fill it by edu­cat­ing peo­ple world­wide, to pre­vail in the search for cre­ative, intel­lec­tu­al and spir­i­tu­al evolution.


TMR is a new iteration on The Markaz, where from 2001–2020:

with racism, vio­lence and extrem­ism on the rise, our chal­lenge was to raise the con­scious­ness of Amer­i­cans in such a way as to human­ize all the peo­ples of the greater Mid­dle East while serv­ing our com­mu­ni­ties in diaspora.


Our Approach

Markaz pro­grams served the inter­ests of rap­proche­ment and peer-to-peer diplo­ma­cy by wel­com­ing peo­ple of every nation and reli­gion, eras­ing the bound­aries between peoples.


Our Impact

895 pro­grams | over 100,000 peo­ple served | 95 videos | 129 part­ner organizations