The North Africa Middle East Politics and EU Security – NAMEPES Summer School will provide its participants with a deep understanding of the relations between the MENA region and the European Union in different aspects (geopolitics, international relations, economics, law).
Most of the Middle Eastern and North African countries (MENA) have spent a period of political instability in the last two decades. The region, most related to Europe for both historical reasons and geographical proximity, is one of the most complex and conflictual regions in the world. Inter-state and civil wars, terrorism, political instability and poverty have had repercussions both within the MENA borders and in the neighboring countries.
In addition to hosting important European trade routes, endowment in vast energy resources and the global energy supply security dependence give this region a greater strategic relevance.
The Summer School will also analyze in depth the domestic and foreign policy of the main regional players in the Middle Eastern politics by highlighting the role of institutions, civil society and political ideologies, particularly political Islam and nationalism.
2023 Edition and Program
The 2023 edition will take place at the School of International Studies of the University of Trento. It is co-funded by the International Master in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies (IMSISS) from 27 June to 1 July. The Summer School is open to the students taking part in the IMSISS program. The Summer School Program is available at the bottom of this page.
On Saturday 1st a Roundtable is scheduled: full details of the Conference Program are available at the bottom of this page.
The project was co-funded by the EU Commission Jean Monnet Action and the University of Trento for the 2021 and 2022 editions (see the dedicated webpage). It was divided into 4 main activities and related outputs:
1) two academic workshops / Summer Schools (4 days per each) that took place in 2021 and 2022 (). The Summer Schools involved reputable experts from MENA regions together with EU experts and scholars delivered their analytical findings about the relevant pressing topics. The workshops hosted more than 30 participants each, selected by the academic coordinator and the other key staff members, on the basis of their credentials and motivation letters.
The main target groups were BA and MA students together with PhD candidates;
2) one workshop / conference for local participants and administrators –held in Italian, and focused on the implications of Middle East politics on EU and EU MS policymaking.
The main purpose of this workshop was to stimulate debates between various stakeholders, including policymakers, corporates, academics, and other relevant professionals.
3) A follow-up online webinar / Academic conversation on “The role of the European Union in Yemen: between ‘smallness’ and normativity”. The objective was to engage the students in a reflection on the external action of the EU, strengthened by the knowledge acquired during the Summer School. The event was organized on zoom (due to COVID-19 restriction) on 15 July 2021.
4) a final international conference comprised of two panels.
The international conference was held as a closing event on June 2022, and aimed at examining the role of the EU in the MENA area and its strategy for the next 30 years, focusing on security and geopolitics issues.
1) 6 selected working papers written by the participating students discussing some of the issues presented during the workshops / Summer Schools and engaging in wider reflections beyond the class discussions. These papers have been published on NAMEPES website and shared on NAMEPES social media pages. 1 working paper written by a PhD student (David Sip), reflecting on NAMEPES Summer School 2022 as a whole, putting the discussed themes in perspective.
The objective of the working papers was twofold: to stimulate the critical thinking of the students in a healthy competition; to share high-quality reflections with the wider public on current issues linked to the MENA region and the EU.
Working papers 2021
- Morreale, Laura. "Territorial control, recognition and external intervention in civil conflicts: is a new praxis emerging in International Law?", A critical review of the lecture “The Financing of Civil Wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen: An International Law Perspective” by Prof. Marco Pertile.
- Flynn, Martin. "The Challenge of Building a Common Migration Policy and the 2016 EU-Turkey Agreement".
- Chaya, Said. "Caught in the Saudi-Iranian rivalry: Lebanon in the early years of the Syrian War (2011-2015)".
- De Siati, Elisa. "Putin's 'Make Russia Great Again' in the Middle East, Critical Review of the lecture: "The International Relations of the Middle East: The resilience of empire" by Prof. Fawaz Gerges.
- Wirmer, Allegra. “The Middle East between stasis and evolution: the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
- Macellari, Lorenzo. “Dancing on the Heads of Snakes: Re-Thinking State Agency in the MENA Region”.
- Sip, David. “NAMEPES in 2022”.
2) a series of short videos titled NAMEPES – Light. The series involved 5 international academics, each of whom discussed one the issues dealt with through the events of the project: UN Peacekeeping in the Middle East; the Arab spring; the EU migration policy in the Mediterranean; a changing balance of power in the Middle East; the Shia geopolitics. The objective of the series was to share some of the core issues covered in the other events of the project, together with additional insights, in order to overcome the movement restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and reach a wider number of people. These videos have been published on NAMEPES YouTube and Facebook profiles, and shared also on its LinkedIn and Instagram pages.
3) a video involving some of the in-presence students of NAMEPES Summer School 2021, sharing their thoughts on the workshops and suggestions to prospect students.
4) A Facebook group called "NAMEPES Summer School Alumni" was created in July 2021 to include the former students of NAMEPES Summer Schools. The aim is to continue the conversation on the topics that were discussed during NAMEPES events, and provide the students with a networking platform, where to share experiences and information.
These activities adopted an interdisciplinary approach, aspiring to create a focal point where academics of international standing get together each year to create and disseminate knowledge on issues relating to security, economics, law, history and international relations.
Furthermore, given the misperceptions that some EU citizens have about MENA countries and particularly their Islamic cultures, the project disseminating its findings among specialists and, more importantly, towards a broader level of public officials, academics and citizens.
Workload and Credits
The Summer School lasts 5 full days (from Tuesday to Saturday). Participation to all the sessions is required to obtain the final Certificate of Participation.
Participants can opt to submit a final assignment to apply for 3 ECTS (each participant needs to check with their own university for the recognition process of the credits).
- Academic Coordinator: Prof. Pejman Abdolmohammadi; p.abdolmohammadi [at] unitn.it
Coordinator for NAMEPES Project, is Senior Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of International Studies at University of Trento. His main research areas are the security and politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and the Iranian domestic affairs and foreign policy. Currently he is Coordinator of the European Project on ‘North Africa and Middle East Politics and EU Security’ (NAMEPES) within the ‘Jean Monnet’ scheme. He has also been teaching and researching on topics concerning Islam and Politics. He has extensive publications on these topics, contributing to the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Eurasian Studies and the British Journal of Persian Studies. Pejman spent three years as a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) - Middle East Centre. Pejman comments regularly the politics and international relations of Middle East on ‘The Economist’.
His most recent book ‘Contemporary Iranian Domestic and Foreign Policies’ will be published by Palgrave/ Mcmillan in July 2020.
- Senior Assistant Project Coordinator: Giulia Daga, PhD Candidate; giulia.daga [at] unitn.it
Senior Project Coordinator NAMEPES, PhD student at the School of International Studies (University of Trento) and Junior Researcher in the MENA Programme at IAI (Istituto Affari Internazionali). She has an MA with honours in International and Diplomatic Sciences (University of Trieste) and a Diploma in Strategic Studies and International Security (University Ca’Foscari – Institute of Maritime Military Studies). She is specialising in Persian Gulf studies, with a focus on Oman. She has worked as a trainee in the Operational Response Division at Frontex (Warsaw), as a teaching assistant of Operational Planning Process at the Institute of Maritime Military Studies (Venice), and as a junior project coordinator at the Eastwest European Institute (Rome).
- Assistant Project Coordinator: Lorenzo Macellari, Student; lorenzo.macellari [at] studenti.unitn.it
Master's Degree student in European and International Studies at the University of Trento. He graduated in Comparative, European and International Legal Studies (University of Trento) with a thesis on Failed States in Africa. He worked as an intern at the Italian Embassy in Baghdad. He is currently writing his thesis on the Iranian Hybrid Regime.
• Pejman Abdolmohammadi is Senior Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern Studies at the School of International Studies at University of Trento (Italy). He is also the Academic Coordinator of NAMEPES Project. His main research areas are the security and politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the geopolitics of the Persian Gulf and the Iranian domestic affairs and foreign policy.
• Ali M. Ansari is Professor of Modern History at the University of St. Andrews (UK) and founding director of the Institute of Iranian Studies. His research focuses on Iranian nation-building, social and intellectual history, ideology and myth, and Iran’s relations with the West.
• Irene Costantini is a Research Fellow in International Relations at the University of Naples “l’Orientale” (Italy). Her research focuses on the politics of international interventions, and processes of state transformation in the MENA region, with a focus on Iraq and Libya.
• Giulia Daga is a PhD student at the School of International Studies (University of Trento) and Junior Researcher in the MENA Programme at IAI (Istituto Affari Internazionali). She has an MA with honours in International and Diplomatic Sciences (University of Trieste) and a Diploma in Strategic Studies and International Security (University Ca’Foscari – Institute of Maritime Military Studies). She is specialising in Persian Gulf studies, with a focus on Oman.
• Fawaz A. Gerges is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and holder of the Emirates Professorship in Contemporary Middle East Studies. He was also the inaugural Director of the LSE Middle East Centre (UK).
• Joel Gordon, editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies since 2019, is a political and cultural historian of modern Egypt and the Middle East at the University of Arkansas (US). His research focuses on political change, popular culture, historical memory and mass media, with particular attention to Egypt and the cultural aspects of Nasserism.
• Nicolas Pelham is The Economist’s Middle East correspondent. He is the author of A New Muslim Order (2008), A History of the Middle East with Peter Mansfield (2012) and Holy Lands (2016) which explores the region’s pluralist past. Taking occasional breaks from journalism, he has worked as a Middle East analyst for the International Crisis Group, the United Nations and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. In 2017 he won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Journalism.
• Marco Pertile is Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Law and the School of International Studies at the University of Trento (Italy). His research interests include self-determination, recognition, international humanitarian law and the use of force.
- NAMEPES Team: namepes [at] unitn.it (namepes@unitn.)
- School of International Studies - Program Office: sis [at] unitn.it
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