Re-inventing the Mediterranean? - December 2009

In December 2009 DJUCO and Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan held their first international conference and Ph.D. workshop together:  

International Conference 2nd & 3rd of December 2009

Re-inventing the Mediterranean?
The Middle East and Europe after Lisbon and Union for the Mediterranean


Ph.D. Workshop 3rd & 4th of December 2009 

European-Middle Eastern Encounters:
Authoritarianism, Political Islam and Ethnopolitics in the Mediterranean region


Europe and Middle Eastern relations have taken an evolving new shape since the end of the colonial era. Although this new direction of relations created a political, economic and security regime based on regional cooperation between the two regions, nonetheless, it is clear that this regime has thus far not succeeded in taking relations to their next natural stage of advanced economic cooperation and further approximation in terms of political and cultural values, nor has it achieved its specific partnership objectives bilaterally or regionally.

Complex patterns of political conflicts seem to permanently threaten to destabilize the region and the attempts by the EU to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law have not been successful. And added to the political conflicts, profound social disparities between the European and non-European Mediterranean societies, ethno-political contradictions and continued controversies related to the migration pressure towards the European shores contribute to the foreign policy and security reality of the region.

From the European side the rejection (by the French and the Dutch) of the European Constitution in 2005 and the rejection of the Lisbon treaty by the Irish in 2008 have inflicted severe blows on the possibilities for the EU to play a role as an efficient foreign policy actor. Several attempts at revitalizing the Barcelona Process and reorganizing the EU’s diplomatic and financial efforts have been carried out over the last decade. The most recent attempt, the creation initiated by Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union for the Mediterranean, can be seen as yet another experiment with re-inventing the Mediterranean. 

Rather than focusing on the relations between the EU and the Arab states and on the degree to which these relations are affected by EU and US attempts at promoting democracy and human rights it is the aim of this conference and workshop to go beyond the democracy promotion perspective and address intertwined strategic, political and social issues which altogether constitutes the security environment of the Mediterranean.

It is thus the ambition of the conference and workshop to shed light on factors which affect the conditions for the relations between Europe and its Middle Eastern neighbours. It is furthermore the idea to bring together researchers from Europe and the Middle East and through mutually fruitful discussions to enhance research cooperation and dialogue between Danish, European and Middle Eastern Universities. Finally it is the purpose through establishing a research network for future cooperation to lay the foundation for annual follow-up arrangements, research cooperation and fund raising. 

The conference will be organized covering two overarching themes, the first of which will deal with overall foreign policy and security issues. The focus in this first session (day 1) will be on the Middle East and Europe after Lisbon and Union for the Mediterranean, the different EU and US agendas in the Mediterranean and the possible role of Europe in relation to different scenarios in Iraq and Iran. The next session (day 2) will deal with Authoritarianism in the Middle East, the rise of political Islam and its implications for Mediterranean encounters and finally ethnopolitics and migration related to regional conflicts and the security paradigm.

In order to cover these dimensions and with an ambition to draw on interdisciplinary research on the Mediterranean this conference invites specialists on European-Middle Eastern relations from the fields of politics, international relations, Middle East Studies etc. The conference is organized as six panels over two days, as follows (for information on the PhD-workshop see separate programme). 

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