CfP: The “State” of Lebanon: Concepts of Political Order in Crisis?

International workshop

Orient-Institut Beirut, 15-16 October 2015

Though this be madness, yet, there is a method in’t.

Shakespeare, Hamlet II, 2.

The Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) of the Max Weber Foundation invites paper proposals for an international workshop on “The ‘state’ of Lebanon: Concepts of political order in crisis?” to be held in Beirut from 15-16 October 2015. The workshop aims at examining the explanatory value of various classical and new approaches towards political order in understanding the fragility/stability of state and society in Lebanon. Continue reading

Mafish Ta‘lim: Why Egypt Ranked Last on Education

By Hania Sobhy

In its 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum ranked Egypt as the worst country in the world in term of the quality of primary education. The measure is not perfect and relies significantly on the subjective assessments of respondents especially in the business community. In that sense, however, it captures rather vividly Egyptian sentiments about the state of public education in the country. Schools show us something fundamental about the functioning of state institutions catering to the majority of the population as they developed throughout the Mubarak era. They show us state institutions becoming thoroughly privatized and characterized by both growing disengagement and heightened repression. Continue reading

REPORT: Language, Science and Aesthetics

Articulations of Subjectivity and Objectivity in the Modern Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia

Report of the Summer Academy in Beirut, 11-19 September 2014

Organizers: Orient-Institut Beirut/Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin

Between 11-19 September 2014, the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) and the Berlin-based research program Forum Transregionale Studien organized an international Summer Academy in Beirut entitled “Language, Science and Aesthetics – Articulations of Subjectivity and Objectivity in the Modern Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia”. Continue reading

Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt in Cairo: Translating Liberal Thought in Revolutionary Times – a Lecture by Professor Jens Hanssen

Studies on Egypt and the Middle East in Germany

Jens Hanssen on Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt

Jens Hanssen on Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt

How do ideas travel through space and history? Which thoughts and concepts have been exchanged and transferred between Europe and Arab countries? Are these concepts received in different ways regarding the cultural and political context? Which role does translation and the translator play in transferring ideas? Professor Jens Hanssen from the University of Toronto discussed these questions in his lecture on “Khayri Hammad and Hannah Arendt in Cairo: Translating Liberal Thought in Revolutionary Times”, which took place on the 17th February 2015 at the Goethe Institut Cairo. The event was jointly organized by the Cairo Office of Freie Universität Berlin, Goethe Institut Cairo, Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) and the German Science Center (DWZ). Continue reading

CfP BRISMES Panel: “Pushing the Status Quo: Liberation in art and cultural practices in the modern Middle East”

We invite paper proposals for participation in a panel on “Pushing the Status Quo: Liberation in art and cultural practices in the modern Middle East” that we are submitting to BRISMES for its forthcoming conference in London, 24-26 June 2015 (www.brismes2015.org).

Cultural production often challenges existing norms and practices, pushing the boundaries of the status quo. This panel explores the relationship of artists and cultural players to authority in the Middle East in the 20th and 21st centuries. It deals with processes of transformation of existing aesthetic, political and social orders, as well as with the dissolution of linear modes of perception, such as for instance in the historical avant-garde. The self-liberation of art and the artist from a rigid academism, clinging to out-of-date aesthetic ideals, is the result of a complex reflexive and emancipatory process: the dissociation of the artist from aesthetic and moral norms leads to an emancipation from and rebellion against the status quo. This rebellion does not always go in one direction, that is the liberation from institutional structures and policies. Rather, when the status quo provides little institutional support to artists, they seek these structures and policies. What makes artists move away from authority and institutional settings? And what makes them look for these? How do the latter impact on the artist’s autonomy? How do we define liberation and emancipation in relation to artists as actors in specific national or transnational contexts? This panel will examine these multi-layered processes. The agency of the artist or cultural player is here in the foreground, positioning him within his time and space.

Abstracts of 250 words and a short bio should be sent by 15 February to Dr Monique Bellan (bellan@orient-institut.org) and Dr Nadia von Maltzahn (maltzahn@orient-institut.org).

FOOD FABRICATION: Culinary practices and food politics in the Arab world

FoodFabrication_PostcardFrontThe Orient-Institut Beirut and the Goethe-Institut Lebanon take a closer look at culinary practices and food politics in the Arab world

Beirut, 14-17 January 2015

Taking a comprehensive look at food heritage, politics and practices in Lebanon and the Arab World, the Orient-Institut Beirut and the Goethe-Institut Lebanon are pleased to announce their forthcoming forum Food Fabrication, to take place in Beirut from 14 to 17 January 2015. Food is a basic need, yet a subject of contestation, especially in this region where food insecurity coexists with obesity, and where most of the food consumed is imported.  Food Fabrication aims to contribute to current debates around food by addressing pressing issues such as food globalization, food safety, food security and culinary practices. Continue reading

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? Abschlussdiskussion/Concluding panel discussion

Chair: Prof. Dr. Julius H. Schoeps, Potsdam

Minderheiten im Nahen Osten und die westliche Welt
Prof. Dr. SHLOMO AVINERI, Jerusalem
Prof. Dr. MICHAEL STÜRMER, Die Welt
Dr. SYLKE TEMPEL, Internationale Politik

Demokratische Aufbrüche, die im Nahen Osten vor vier Jahren als “Arabischer Frühling” begannen, haben eine tragische Wendung genommen. Autokratische Regime wurden zwar gestürzt oder in ihre Schranken gewiesen, doch im entstandenen Machtvakuum streiten ethnozentrierte und religiös-radikalisierte Gruppen militant und undemokratisch um Partikularinteressen. Einige Staaten erleben dabei rasante Zerfallsprozesse, andere offenen Bürgerkrieg, und wieder andere verfestigte Hierarchien und Angst vor allem Neuen. Eine seismografische Komponente des Geschehens sind die zahlreichen ethno-religiösen Minderheiten der Region, nun konfrontiert mit fließenden Transformationsprozessen und ungewisser Zukunft. In einer Situation zerfallender Ordnungen, inkompatibler Machtansprüche und hoher manifester und latenter Gewalt wird ethnische und kulturelle Diversität kaum noch als Chance begriffen, sondern eher als Störfaktor und Sicherheitsrisiko. Wie gehen die ethno-religiösen Minderheiten mit dieser für sie bedrohlichen Situation um? Welcher Handlungsspielraum bleibt ihnen überhaupt? Und wo liegt – ungeachtet der dramatischen Entwicklungen – noch Potential für ein Miteinander der verschiedenen Religionen, Ethnien und Kulturen im Nahen Osten? Die vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam, dem Lepsiushaus Potsdam, dem Orient-Institut Beirut und der Europäischen Akademie Berlin gemeinsam veranstaltete internationale Konferenz geht diesen Fragen anhand verschiedenster Länder, Minderheiten und Konstellationen nach.

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region. Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies. Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? Panel IV

Panel IV: Bedrohte Kulturen und die Herausforderung der Vergangenheit/Endangered cultures and the challenges of the past

Chair: Dr. Olaf Glöckner, Potsdam

Aleppo as a prism of minorities, cultures and destruction in the Middle East
Dr. UǦUR ÜMIT ÜNGÖR, Utrecht/Amsterdam

Vergangenheitsbewältigung als Herausforderung in der Türkei
Dr. ULRIKE DUFNER, Istanbul

Die Situation der Minderheiten im Iran
Dr. WAHIED WAHDAT-HAGH, Berlin

Die Situation der Drusen im Nahen Osten
TOBIAS LANG M.A., Wien

Demokratische Aufbrüche, die im Nahen Osten vor vier Jahren als “Arabischer Frühling” begannen, haben eine tragische Wendung genommen. Autokratische Regime wurden zwar gestürzt oder in ihre Schranken gewiesen, doch im entstandenen Machtvakuum streiten ethnozentrierte und religiös-radikalisierte Gruppen militant und undemokratisch um Partikularinteressen. Einige Staaten erleben dabei rasante Zerfallsprozesse, andere offenen Bürgerkrieg, und wieder andere verfestigte Hierarchien und Angst vor allem Neuen. Eine seismografische Komponente des Geschehens sind die zahlreichen ethno-religiösen Minderheiten der Region, nun konfrontiert mit fließenden Transformationsprozessen und ungewisser Zukunft. In einer Situation zerfallender Ordnungen, inkompatibler Machtansprüche und hoher manifester und latenter Gewalt wird ethnische und kulturelle Diversität kaum noch als Chance begriffen, sondern eher als Störfaktor und Sicherheitsrisiko. Wie gehen die ethno-religiösen Minderheiten mit dieser für sie bedrohlichen Situation um? Welcher Handlungsspielraum bleibt ihnen überhaupt? Und wo liegt – ungeachtet der dramatischen Entwicklungen – noch Potential für ein Miteinander der verschiedenen Religionen, Ethnien und Kulturen im Nahen Osten? Die vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam, dem Lepsiushaus Potsdam, dem Orient-Institut Beirut und der Europäischen Akademie Berlin gemeinsam veranstaltete internationale Konferenz geht diesen Fragen anhand verschiedenster Länder, Minderheiten und Konstellationen nach.

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region. Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies. Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? Panel III

Panel III: Minderheiten, Konflikte und neue Einflüsse/Minorities, conflicts and new impacts

Chair: Dr. Thomas Scheffler, Beirut

Der Nahe Osten als aktueller Konfliktherd
Dr. MICHAEL LÜDERS, Berlin

Die Kopten und der “Arabische Frühling” in Ägypten
Dr. SEBASTIAN ELSÄSSER, Kiel

Segmentation of nations and fragmentation of segments, based on the Iraqi experience in nation-building and re-building
Dr. FALEH ABDUL-JABBAR, Beirut

Interreligous dialogue in the Middle East: a failed experiment?
Prof. Dr. KAMEL S. ABU JABER, Amman

Demokratische Aufbrüche, die im Nahen Osten vor vier Jahren als “Arabischer Frühling” begannen, haben eine tragische Wendung genommen. Autokratische Regime wurden zwar gestürzt oder in ihre Schranken gewiesen, doch im entstandenen Machtvakuum streiten ethnozentrierte und religiös-radikalisierte Gruppen militant und undemokratisch um Partikularinteressen. Einige Staaten erleben dabei rasante Zerfallsprozesse, andere offenen Bürgerkrieg, und wieder andere verfestigte Hierarchien und Angst vor allem Neuen. Eine seismografische Komponente des Geschehens sind die zahlreichen ethno-religiösen Minderheiten der Region, nun konfrontiert mit fließenden Transformationsprozessen und ungewisser Zukunft. In einer Situation zerfallender Ordnungen, inkompatibler Machtansprüche und hoher manifester und latenter Gewalt wird ethnische und kulturelle Diversität kaum noch als Chance begriffen, sondern eher als Störfaktor und Sicherheitsrisiko. Wie gehen die ethno-religiösen Minderheiten mit dieser für sie bedrohlichen Situation um? Welcher Handlungsspielraum bleibt ihnen überhaupt? Und wo liegt – ungeachtet der dramatischen Entwicklungen – noch Potential für ein Miteinander der verschiedenen Religionen, Ethnien und Kulturen im Nahen Osten? Die vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam, dem Lepsiushaus Potsdam, dem Orient-Institut Beirut und der Europäischen Akademie Berlin gemeinsam veranstaltete internationale Konferenz geht diesen Fragen anhand verschiedenster Länder, Minderheiten und Konstellationen nach.

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region. Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies. Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? Panel II (2)

Panel II: Minderheiten, Verfolgung und politische Interaktion/Minorities, persecution and political interaction

Chair: Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, Potsdam/Dr. Thomas Scheffler, Beirut

Religious Minorities in the Middle East
Dr. HAMDAM NADAFI, Brüssel

Die Situation der Kurden im Nahen Osten
Dr. GÜNTER SEUFERT, Berlin

Der Syrien-Konflikt und seine Auswirkungen auf die Minderheiten
Dr. FRIEDERIKE STOLLEIS, Beirut

Demokratische Aufbrüche, die im Nahen Osten vor vier Jahren als “Arabischer Frühling” begannen, haben eine tragische Wendung genommen. Autokratische Regime wurden zwar gestürzt oder in ihre Schranken gewiesen, doch im entstandenen Machtvakuum streiten ethnozentrierte und religiös-radikalisierte Gruppen militant und undemokratisch um Partikularinteressen. Einige Staaten erleben dabei rasante Zerfallsprozesse, andere offenen Bürgerkrieg, und wieder andere verfestigte Hierarchien und Angst vor allem Neuen. Eine seismografische Komponente des Geschehens sind die zahlreichen ethno-religiösen Minderheiten der Region, nun konfrontiert mit fließenden Transformationsprozessen und ungewisser Zukunft. In einer Situation zerfallender Ordnungen, inkompatibler Machtansprüche und hoher manifester und latenter Gewalt wird ethnische und kulturelle Diversität kaum noch als Chance begriffen, sondern eher als Störfaktor und Sicherheitsrisiko. Wie gehen die ethno-religiösen Minderheiten mit dieser für sie bedrohlichen Situation um? Welcher Handlungsspielraum bleibt ihnen überhaupt? Und wo liegt – ungeachtet der dramatischen Entwicklungen – noch Potential für ein Miteinander der verschiedenen Religionen, Ethnien und Kulturen im Nahen Osten? Die vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam, dem Lepsiushaus Potsdam, dem Orient-Institut Beirut und der Europäischen Akademie Berlin gemeinsam veranstaltete internationale Konferenz geht diesen Fragen anhand verschiedenster Länder, Minderheiten und Konstellationen nach.

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region. Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies. Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? Panel II (1)

Minderheiten, Verfolgung und politische Interaktion/Minorities, persecution and political interaction
Chair: Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, Potsdam/Dr. Thomas Scheffler,
Beirut

Christliche Minderheiten im Nahen Osten: Ein Störfaktor in der westlichen Geopolitik?
Dr. THOMAS SCHEFFLER, Beirut

Living together, but separately? Federalization projects in Lebanon since 1975
Dr. ANDRÉ SLEIMAN, Beirut

Demokratische Aufbrüche, die im Nahen Osten vor vier Jahren als “Arabischer Frühling” begannen, haben eine tragische Wendung genommen. Autokratische Regime wurden zwar gestürzt oder in ihre Schranken gewiesen, doch im entstandenen Machtvakuum streiten ethnozentrierte und religiös-radikalisierte Gruppen militant und undemokratisch um Partikularinteressen. Einige Staaten erleben dabei rasante Zerfallsprozesse, andere offenen Bürgerkrieg, und wieder andere verfestigte Hierarchien und Angst vor allem Neuen. Eine seismografische Komponente des Geschehens sind die zahlreichen ethno-religiösen Minderheiten der Region, nun konfrontiert mit fließenden Transformationsprozessen und ungewisser Zukunft. In einer Situation zerfallender Ordnungen, inkompatibler Machtansprüche und hoher manifester und latenter Gewalt wird ethnische und kulturelle Diversität kaum noch als Chance begriffen, sondern eher als Störfaktor und Sicherheitsrisiko. Wie gehen die ethno-religiösen Minderheiten mit dieser für sie bedrohlichen Situation um? Welcher Handlungsspielraum bleibt ihnen überhaupt? Und wo liegt – ungeachtet der dramatischen Entwicklungen – noch Potential für ein Miteinander der verschiedenen Religionen, Ethnien und Kulturen im Nahen Osten? Die vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam, dem Lepsiushaus Potsdam, dem Orient-Institut Beirut und der Europäischen Akademie Berlin gemeinsam veranstaltete internationale Konferenz geht diesen Fragen anhand verschiedenster Länder, Minderheiten und Konstellationen nach.

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region. Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies. Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? Panel I

Panel I: Frühes 20. Jahrhundert, Erster Weltkrieg und Neugliederung des Nahen Ostens/Early 20th century, World War 1 and new order in the Middle East

Chair: Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, Potsdam

Der Zerfall des Osmanischen Reiches und seine Nachwirkungen: Talât Pasha
Prof. Dr. HANS-LUKAS KIESER, Zürich

Islamisches Ordnungswissen und die Idee der Nation: Konkurrenzen, Aporien und die Erfindung der Minderheiten
Prof. Dr. MIHRAN DABAG, Bochum

Minorities and mandates: The making of communal identities in the interwar period
Prof. Dr. BIRGIT SCHÄBLER, Erfurt

Demokratische Aufbrüche, die im Nahen Osten vor vier Jahren als “Arabischer Frühling” begannen, haben eine tragische Wendung genommen. Autokratische Regime wurden zwar gestürzt oder in ihre Schranken gewiesen, doch im entstandenen Machtvakuum streiten ethnozentrierte und religiös-radikalisierte Gruppen militant und undemokratisch um Partikularinteressen. Einige Staaten erleben dabei rasante Zerfallsprozesse, andere offenen Bürgerkrieg, und wieder andere verfestigte Hierarchien und Angst vor allem Neuen. Eine seismografische Komponente des Geschehens sind die zahlreichen ethno-religiösen Minderheiten der Region, nun konfrontiert mit fließenden Transformationsprozessen und ungewisser Zukunft. In einer Situation zerfallender Ordnungen, inkompatibler Machtansprüche und hoher manifester und latenter Gewalt wird ethnische und kulturelle Diversität kaum noch als Chance begriffen, sondern eher als Störfaktor und Sicherheitsrisiko. Wie gehen die ethno-religiösen Minderheiten mit dieser für sie bedrohlichen Situation um? Welcher Handlungsspielraum bleibt ihnen überhaupt? Und wo liegt – ungeachtet der dramatischen Entwicklungen – noch Potential für ein Miteinander der verschiedenen Religionen, Ethnien und Kulturen im Nahen Osten? Die vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam, dem Lepsiushaus Potsdam, dem Orient-Institut Beirut und der Europäischen Akademie Berlin gemeinsam veranstaltete internationale Konferenz geht diesen Fragen anhand verschiedenster Länder, Minderheiten und Konstellationen nach.

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region. Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies. Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Conference Livestream: Where is the Middle East heading? – Welcome and Keynote Speech

Begrüßung/Welcome by
Prof. Dr. Julius H. Schoeps, MMZ Potsdam
Dr. Rolf Hosfeld, Lepsiushaus Potsdam
Dr. Thomas Scheffler, Orient-Institut Beirut
Dr. Elisabeth Botsch, Europäische Akademie Berlin

Prof. Dr. Shlomo Avineri, Jerusalem
Nationalism, nation-states, minority rights, and historical identities in the post-Ottoman space

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region.  Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances. Continue reading

Where is the Middle East heading? Ethno-religious minorities between persecution and self-determination

Flyer Konferenz Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten_finale Version-page-002International conference in Berlin, 30 November – 2 December 2014:

The Orient-Institut Beirut – in cooperation with Lepsiushaus Potsdam, the Moses Mendelssohn Centre at Potsdam University and the European Academy Berlin – is organizing an international conference on the situation of Middle Eastern minorities after the “Arab Spring” entitled “Where is the Middle East heading? Ethno-religious minorities between persecution and self-determination” (Wohin treibt der Nahe Osten? Ethno-religiöse Minderheiten im Nahen Osten zwischen Verfolgung und Selbstbehauptung).

Since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, complex and dramatic transformations have taken place in the Middle East. Up to now, it remains difficult to assess their impact on the people, societies and governments in the region.  Previously stable forms of government, politico-territorial boundaries, and the entire Middle Eastern state system established after World War I are destabilized under the pressure of large mass movements, escalating violence, humanitarian catastrophes, and the bitter competition between national and transnational players and powerful international alliances.

One central seismographic component of this process is formed by the region’s numerous ethno-religious minorities who are facing an uncertain future and must reorient themselves in an extremely fluid and fragile socio-political environment. In a situation of decaying order, incompatible claims to power and a high level of manifest and latent violence, ethnic and cultural diversity is rarely understood as an opportunity to create overall shared social and cultural growth, but is rather seen as a security risk.

Depending on local interests and the power resources available, the various religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are trying to deal with this contradictory and threatening situation at different levels and with different strategies.  Besides a trend of increased individual emigration, there are attempts to support the old regimes, create alliances with other minorities, and find secularist partners willing to engage in talks within the majority population, or defend the interests of their own community with arms if necessary.

The conference will explore and compare the conditions, political dynamics, survival strategies, and international networks of different ethno-religious minorities in the Middle East in the framework of the historical development spanning the end of the Ottoman Empire, the European Mandate period and the era of Arab nationalism up to the present.

Convenors: Orient-Institut Beirut, Lepsiushaus Potsdam, Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum Potsdam

Date: 30 November – 2 December 2014

Venue: Europäische Akademie Berlin, Bismarckallee 46/48, D-14193 Berlin-Grunewald

For full PDF-programme click here.