Reformulating UK - European Relations After Brexit: Implications for the MENA region
On November 13, 2018, Mason gave a presentation at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University titled "Reformulating UK - European Relations After Brexit: Implications for the MENA region." The talk was attended by students and faculty in the Euro-Med program.
BUE Students and Faculty visits MESC
On 1 November 2018, Mason met with undergraduate political science students and faculty from the British University in Egypt to discuss the Diploma and MA Middle East Studies at AUC. The morning event also included a broader discussion about preparing for further study, maximizing exposure to opportunities in the field, and general careers advice.
Power Struggle in the Early Turkish Republic
On Sept 19, 2018, Professor Hakan Özoğlu from the University of Central Florida gave a talk titled "Power Struggle in the Early Turkish Republic". It focused on the transition period (1918-1923) from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the emerging of the Turkish Republic. Covering three major political/judicial maneuvers, it demonstrated how opposition to and within the emerging Turkish regime was addressed during those pivotal years, and how the resulting power struggle contributed to the form of the new state that arose.
Professor Yahia Zoubir from KEDGE Business School in Marseille visits MESC
In the Spring 2018 semester, Prof. Yahia Zoubir from KEDGE Business School in Marseille visited the Middle East Studies Center as Visiting Professor. During his time at the center, he engaged with students and gave a talk on 'Security Challenges in the Maghreb: The Nexus between Bad Governance and Violent Extremism' with particular reference to his personal and professional experiences of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali and Niger. He also participated in a workshop on the Mediterranean and transnational security which took place at the New Cairo campus in May 2018. He will also participate in an edited volume along with the other participants.
Life Trajectories of Islamic Activists: from Egypt to South Africa
On Sunday, May 13, 2018, Professor Abdulkader Tayob from the University of Cape Town gave an insightful talk about the life trajectories of Islamic Activists in Africa with a special focus on Egypt. Instead of studying religious activism in the form of collective movements, Tayob is more interested in understanding the diverse personal dimensions of activism as lived and practiced by the individual. Thus biographies, interviews and conversations become his main sources for understanding how, for instance, Muslim activists choose and stay within a certain religious group. As such, the talk raised important questions about Islam in Africa and the value of a 'biographical approach' to scholarship.
Security Challenges in the Maghreb
On May 10, 2018, Professor Yahia Zoubir from KEDGE Business School in Marseille gave an excellent talk titled 'Security Challenges in the Maghreb: The Nexus between Bad Governance and Violent Extremism'. Drawing on his personal experience of Algeria and research interests in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mali and Niger, he provided a broad overview of the drivers of violent extremism. He spoke about socio-economic issues, border control, role conception in foreign policy, international cooperation and the role of external actors such as France, Italy and the US. His conclusions were both policy-relevant and insightful for any scholar of the Maghreb region and those studying the dynamics of insecurity and conflict.
Nathan Birnbaum and the Colonialist-Orientalist Nexus in Zionism
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Professor Michael J. Reimer of the History Department presented a lunchtime talk titled “Nathan Birnbaum and the Colonialist-Orientalist Nexus in Zionism”. His talk focused on contrasting colonial projects of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries with the (disputed) colonialist nature of Zionism. He suggested that Zionism was unlike European colonial ventures because the Zionists didn’t have a “colonial state” from which to control the Palestinians (unlike the British in Egypt, who had Britain to return to and gain power from). He mentioned that the original Zionists purchased land instead of conquering it, that the Jewish and Arab economies were separated, and that Zionism reflected a “migration of persecuted and impoverished masses to a new location”, which contrasted much of European colonialism, which conquered land, decimated the local economy, and introduced wealthy Europeans into the native population. However, Professor Reimer cautioned, one could argue that Zionists pursued settler colonialism, constructed their self-definitions through institutions and that the colonizer-colonized dynamic (especially in regards to controlling land) was obvious in Palestine.
Professor Reimer introduced the audience to a key figure, Nathan Birnbaum, who was the first person to propagate Zionism in a cultural sense that didn’t necessarily require statehood. He described how Birnbaum thought that the Jews needed Palestine for practical and popular reasons, more than the religious right. However, he mentioned, Birnbaum ended up defecting from Zionism. Professor Reimer argued that Birnbaum represented the colonialist-orientalist discourse surrounding Zionism in its creation and implementation and that this had significant ripples in Zionist historiography. He continued his talk by comparing and contrasting Nathan Birnbaum and Theodor Herzl, demonstrating how they both participated in colonialist-orientalist informed discourse. The session came to a close and Professor Reimer asked and answered questions from the audience.
European Union grant
The Middle East Studies Center wins European Commission grant to promote dialogue between academic scholars, policy professionals in Egypt and the European policymakers.
Professor Aly Erfan Addresses Asian Ambassadors in Egypt
Ambassador Aly Erfan, professor of practice at MESC, was the guest speaker at the Asian Ambassadors’ Group Meeting on January 23, 2018 where he addressed the issue of “The Arab League as a Regional Arrangement: What Went Wrong."
Erfan drew on his personal experience as the political adviser and chef de cabinet of the secretary-general of the Arab League from 2011 to 2016 and in the Cabinet Foreign Minister of Egypt from 1994 to 2006 when he was in charge of regional and international peace and security issues."
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