The international light source Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) was established under the auspices of UNESCO in May 2002 before becoming an independent intergovernmental organisation in its own right. Its mission is to provide a world-class research facility for the region, while fostering international scientific cooperation among its Members. The EC-funded CESSAMag (CERN-EC Support for SESAME Magnets) project, coordinated by CERN, has delivered key components to the Middle East’s pioneering SESAME laboratory, which is currently starting-up in the Jordanian town of Allan. The collaboration of CERN, the European Commission and SESAME in the CESSAMag project has played a vital role in supporting this visionary mission.