In the framework of MENARA’s second plenary meeting, PODEM organized a public conference titled “Middle East and North Africa Regional Architecture” in collaboration with Kadir Has University in Istanbul on May 15, 2017.

The one-day conference at Kadir Has University gathered international and local experts for a fruitful discussion on the changing political, social and economic dynamics of the Middle East and North Africa region in recent years.

The panel sessions focused on the politics of identity and geopolitical risks in the Middle East and North Africa. The MENARA Project aims to link the MENA region to the global dynamics and tries to understand how the EU functions in the region. The EU is a part of the MENA region yet it is not enough on managing ongoing crises and not on the top of the negotiations table, especially regarding the Syrian conflict. The discussions during the Istanbul public event underlined the need for exchanging knowledge on the developments in the MENA region. It was noted that a regular systematic contact should be maintained to better understand the region.

The following points were highlighted:

  • A far more integrated approach in policies for peace brokering should be introduced.
  • The lack of a regional order in the Middle East not only creates security concerns, but also facilitates that all actors involved are trying to cater their interests. This vacuum of power has favoured the emergence of non-state actors like ISIS.
  • Water scarcity, combined with population growth, is one of the main challenges in the MENA region and the geopolitics of the region is dependent on management of scarce resources.
  • There is also a need to put the MENA region in a global context to see its relations with regards to youth and diasporas.
  • Policy community, civil society and academics should contribute more to the region’s future.
  • The idea of promoting resilience in the MENA region should be on the table.


Please click here to see the conference programme.


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