How has the EU been constructed in the Middle East debate and how has the Middle East been constructed in the European debate? These questions will guide the new network on EU-Middle East relations, led by the University of Amsterdam.
EU-Middle East relations constitute a cornerstone of the EU’s external relations. The UvA will lead an international research consortium of seven European and Middle Eastern partners to bridge the gap between policy-making and academic research on EU-Middle East relations (EUMENIA). The network targets students and academics as well as think thanks, policy makers and NGOs.
The international consortium has received an Erasmus+ grant of €300.000 within the Jean Monnet Activities of the European Commission and will run for 3 years.
UvA political scientist Dimitris Bouris (consortium leader) explains: “We realised that there is a need to adopt a bottom-up perspective to analyse how EU-Middle East relations are being taught and understood in the classrooms of European and Middle Eastern Universities and how knowledge on a number of topics pertaining these relations is constructed in our societies. We also aim to bring different policy makers closer to the public thus bridging a gap between our societies and relevant decision-makers. With numerous education, research and dissemination activities the network aims to become the main reference point on EU-Middle East relations. We look forward to starting our work with eumenia (meaning good will and favourably disposed attitude in Greek)”.
EUMENIA will revolve around activities in education, research and the dissemination of knowledge, like the exchange of best-practices and teaching visits, recorded videos and policy lectures. The network will also produce a handbook on EU-Middle East relations, set up a website and organise public events. There will be an emphasis on social media platforms to further disseminate the knowledge and foster a dialogue between officials, academics and students.
The network comprises partners from Greece (University of Peloponnese), Italy (Istituto Affari Internazionali), Denmark (Roskilde Universitet), Palestine (Bir Zeit University), Turkey (Yasar University), Lebanon (American University of Beirut,), Jordan (University of Jordan) and the Netherlands (University of Amsterdam).
On behalf of the UvA, Dimitris Bouris is the consortium leader while Vivienne Matthies-Boon, Farid Boussaid and Beste Isleyen are involved as researchers.