The Middle East Studies Center has been awarded a €32,000 grant from the European Union to create a new unique platform for young Egyptian scholars to engage with European policymakers and academic experts.
The action will enhance the teaching and research capabilities on this theme at AUC as well as at a number of other public and private universities in Egypt. First, it will enable faculty, students and members of the public to engage with Euro-Med Studies, Euro-Med politics, and thematically related areas such as migration, energy, and multiculturalism during a regular public lecture series. Second, the funding will attract a Visiting Professor to conduct research on a Euro-Med topic at the Middle East Studies Center and enrich the student experience. Third, a roundtable discussion will take place at the Middle East Studies Center on a related topic which is of direct relevance to Egypt, the MENA region, and the EU. An associated publication will provide a tangible legacy for this one year project.
What Does the EU Global Strategy Mean for the Middle East?
The first of the new Euro-Med lecture series, generously supported by the European Union, took place at the AUC Tahrir Square campus on Wednesday, February 28. The lecture entitled "What Does the EU Global Strategy Mean for the MENA Region?" was given by Dr. Eduard Soler, a researcher at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. Presenting to a well-attended event, Dr. Soler spoke about the context in which the Global Strategy was developed, its chief points (especially with regard to principled pragmatism), and further issues within the EU and in its relations with the 'southern neighborhood'. The Q and A extended for a long period illustrating the interest and engagement of all of those who attended.
The EU and Energy Security
The second Euro-Med lecture titled “The EU and Energy Security” was given by Marco Giuli from the European Policy Center in Brussels on Tuesday, April 10. His wide-ranging lecture encompassed an overview of the EU energy mix and supplies, threats and policy responses, as well as emerging global gas market trends and developments in the eastern Mediterranean. His comments illustrated the complexity of political decision making when taking into account factors such as variable pricing and contracts, new markets and gluts, fixed infrastructure, geopolitical considerations and risks, fracking in the U.S. and climate change objectives.
Can Eastern Mediterranean gas help EU’s energy security? to read the article click here
European Neighbourhood Policy
Ambassador James Moran, former Principal Advisor on the Middle East and North Africa to the EU's External Action Service in 2016/17 and Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt 2012 - 2016, along with Dr Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies, talked about the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). They covered a range of internal and external issues including political economy, changes within the EU, cooperation and aid, and looked forward to the possibility that a Euro-Arab dialogue would take place soon.
EU and Libya
On 24 April, Dr. Florence Gaub, Deputy Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and an expert on Libya, spoke about the EU and Libya. Her talk encompassed a background on bilateral relations as well as with EU member states such as Italy, Germany, France and the UK. She went on to discuss the NATO intervention and contemporary issues affecting the security and prosperity of Libya.
Enhancing Euro-Med Security Cooperation
The Middle East Studies Center hosted a one day workshop titled 'Enhancing Euro-Med Security Cooperation' on 13 May 2018. It drew together a range of experts covering various themes of direct relevance to the existing (in)security complex, including presentations from analysts and academics from Russia, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The event was also attended by a representative from the EU mission in Cairo. A publication based on the proceedings is expected to be published in due course.
Enhancing Euro-Med Security Cooperation - WORKSHOP SUMMARY REPORT by Dr Robert Mason. to download the report click here.
The EU and Palestine
On Sunday 13 May, Professor Beck from the University of Southern Denmark gave a broad and detailed summary of EU involvement in addressing the Israel - Palestine conflict and issues therein. Speaking to a capacity crowd, he also outlined the various approaches that the EU could employ, from unilateral recognition similar to Sweden, to a greater emphasis on multilateralism. Although the EU was cited as being an important economic actor and one which has attempted to be an honest peace broker, its internal divisions, lack of leverage and autonomy in the international system were shown to be problematic.
Food Security in the Middle East: Between Self-Sufficiency Illusions and Vulnerability to Trade Disruptions
On September 18 Dr. Eckart Woertz from the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) gave a comprehensive presentation on issues related to food security in the Middle East. He cited food access (including supply chain management), economic and political decision making as being important aspects of food security. In the Q and A session, he underplayed the potential role of water in conflict saying that its very nature of being difficult to control made cooperation more likely. This was followed by a short presentation from the World Food Program in Egypt on its activities, emphasizing nutrition, particularly among very young children, as being a core component of its work.
European Solidarity and Transatlantic Tensions: US Sanctions on Iran are Proving a Tough Test for EU Foreign and Security Policy
On 23 October 2018 Dr Ian Black, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Middle East Centre, London School of Economics, gave an insightful presentation on transatlantic tensions following President Trump's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. Speaking to a mixed crowd of diplomats and students, he highlighted the timeline of events in getting to the JCPOA and the determination of the other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Iran to sustain and build on it as valuable diplomatic outcome.
For further information about this project, please email email@example.com
MESC is now an observer member (full member from 2019) of the Euro-Mediterranean Research, Dialogue, Advocacy (EuroMeSCo), a network of research centers on politics and security in the Mediterranean. Further details can be found here
Read about our roundtable on "Order and Disorder in the Middle East and North Africa: New Perspectives on Regional Security and Political Economy," with the European University Institute here
Dr. Mason discusses the Syria conflict and the Euro-Med refugee crisis in the February 2018 edition of European Foreign Affairs Review. Read more about his findings here
There are a number of student opportunities available in this area from the EU-funded Jean Monnet network 'VIADUCT - Enhancing Visibility of the Academic Dialogue on EU-Turkey Cooperation' coordinated by the University of Cologne. Details are outlined below.
- Submitting Teaching, Student and Policy Papers for publication in the VIADUCT Online Paper Series (the next call for papers will be issued by September 2018 with delivery in March 2019)
- Receiving teaching awards of up to €600.
- Participating in VIADUCT's Master Seminar and Ph.D. Workshop that are respectively due to take place in June 2020 and March 2019.