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  • Author: Engjellushe Morina, Florian Bieber, Vuk Viksanovic, Jovana Marovic, Faruk Ajeti, Vedran Dzihic
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: The global pandemic is changing the world. The Western Balkans were hit severely and are currently struggling with the rapid increase in numbers of Covid-19 infections. The state-of-the-play in the region is shaped by the dynamics of the pandemics but also by underlying structural problems, by the “return of geopolitics’ in the Balkans and question marks put behind the EU-Enlargement and new transatlantic relations. What we see at display right now is a sort of 'vaccine nationalism' threatening to replace the European solidarity. We see China rapidly increasing its influence, EU struggling to find a strong common policy towards the region and new expectations (for some) or even fears (for some others) related to the new Biden Administration. The debate seeks to explore this new game in the (post)covid Balkans. Are non-Western players using the pandemic with their ‘vaccine politics’ to fill Western’s gap or to challenge Western’s influence in the Balkans? What is the role of the EU and what the future prospects for enlargement? Will China’s increased influence in the Western Balkans hinder its transatlantic aspirations? How will the Biden administration meet the new challenges in the region? In cooperation with the Ministry of Defense (bmlv), the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation, and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Topic: Geopolitics, Transatlantic Relations, Vaccine, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Vera Axyonova, Ondrej Ditrych, Katarzyna Jezierska, Saskia Stachowitsch
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: This event explored the role of think tanks in international politics. We unpacked the concept of “think tanks”, their impact in different parts of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as their relations with elites, governments, and civil society. With scholars working on and for think tanks, we explored how these institutions matter in processes of Europeanization and democratization, but also in anti-EU movements and authoritarian politics.
  • Topic: International Relations, Authoritarianism, European Union, Europeanization, Think Tanks
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe
  • Author: Carina Radler, Christina Riegler, Eithne Knappitsch, Johannes Maerk, Klara Koštal, Veronika Bernard
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: What do intercultural trends and social changes in the Euro-Med region mean for Austria? The Intercultural Trends Report is a scientific report by the Anna Lindh Foundation, which shows the common ideas, attitudes, fears and hopes of young people from the Euro-Med region. In the online event, the Intercultural Trends Report 2020 was presented, discussed with the members of the Austrian network and put into practice. The report specifically addresses the opportunities, challenges and future collaborations that arise from the dialogue between Europe and the Mediterranean region. The aim is to identify exemplary examples that youth and civil society in the Euro-Med region can continue to pursue in the future.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Culture, Youth, Intercultural Dialogue
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mediterranean
  • Author: Moussa Sall, Intissar Fakir, Hajar Khamlichi, Thowaba Ben Slema, Houssem Hamdi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Across the MENA region, civil society plays a key role in putting climate on the agenda for governments and the private sector. How are activists and advocates in North Africa building momentum in their communities and globally to address climate change? How can social media, film, and art bridge gaps and create a global demand for greater sustainability? Intissar Fakir will be joined in conversation with leading figures in the fight for climate action in North Africa.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Arts, Social Media, Film, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Vanessa Badre, Lyne Sneige, Kate Seelye, Denis Quenelle, Nagham Hodaifa, Bady Dalloul
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Center and The Cultural Services of the French Embassy are pleased to host a conversation with leading Syrian contemporary artists, Bady Dalloul and Nagham Hodaifa. The Paris-based artists will reflect on the past decade of conflict and trauma, its impact and influence on their work and their relationship to their homeland. They will be joined by Lyne Sneige, the Director of the Arts & Culture Center at the Middle East Institute. Dalloul grew up in France, the son of prominent Syrian artists. His work confronts the notion of what is real and imagined while challenging the process of writing history. Hodaifa, who left Syria in 2005 to pursue her studies, explores the human condition through the representation of the body. Both artists are in the current MEI Art Gallery exhibit In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, featuring leading contemporary Syrian artists chronicling the hope, trauma, and pain of the past decade through their practice. The artists will be in conversation with Vanessa Badré, art historian, lawyer, and faculty fellow at American University.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Conflict, Trauma, Syrian War, Memory
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, France, Syria
  • Author: Silvia Crescimbeni, Vahakn Kabakian, Jessica Obeid
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Amid converging political, economic, and humanitarian crises, Lebanon has recently doubled down on its climate ambition for the next ten years. In its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the country has revised both its GHG emission reduction targets and renewable-energy-sourced power generation targets upwards. Does climate change bear national security implications for Lebanon today? How can climate-proofed infrastructure projects and low-carbon technologies attract investments, create jobs and support Lebanon’s economic revival post-collapse? How will immediate policy choices and renewable energy integration ensure economic growth and shape the future of critical sectors such as energy, water, food, and transportation? What is the role of climate diplomacy and partnerships in achieving Lebanon's climate ambitions? How can Lebanon ensure that its climate policy does not fall through the cracks?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, National Security, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Gonul Tol, Philip Breedlove, Iulia Joja, Yoruk Isik, Mamuka Tsereteli
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Russia’s largest military buildup since the 2014 annexation of Crimea is taking place along the Ukrainian border and in the Black Sea. Moscow has resorted to escalatory measures, announcing the closing of the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea to foreign ships and cutting off Ukraine’s ability to export. In response, the West has reacted with warnings and invitations to dialogue while Turkey is trying to walk a fine line between Russia and Ukraine. To prevent further escalation of the crisis, much will depend on the Biden administration’s response. What are possible conflict scenarios of Russia towards Ukraine and the Black Sea? What options does the West have in deterring Russian aggression in the region? In what ways is this significant to the long-term US regional strategy? How is Russian military buildup significant not only for Ukraine, but also for the broader stability of the Black Sea region?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs, Navy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Black Sea
  • Author: Charles Lister, Vera Mironova, Eric Oehlerich, Mick Mulroy, Sara Kayyali
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Two years after the territorial defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, tens of thousands of fighters and associated civilians remain in various forms of detention, with little sign of any meaningful solution to their status. Until now, few Western governments have proven willing to repatriate their citizens, choosing instead to leave them in the region, where security is weak and humanitarian conditions are dire. Multilateral efforts to determine the prospects for localized judicial mechanisms have failed, leaving behind an unsustainable crisis that threatens long-term security. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a panel of experts in this timely and important discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Prisons/Penal Systems, Citizenship, Islamic State, Foreign Fighters
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Lyne Sneige, Lara Haddad, Maymanah Farhat, Kevork Mourad
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Marking the launch of the MEI Art Gallery exhibit, In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, MEI is pleased to host a conversation exploring how Syrian artists in exile have addressed the hope, trauma and displacement of the past decade through their art. Among the 14 participating artists, US-based artists Lara Haddad, Essma Imady and Kevork Mourad, as well as curator and writer Maymanah Farhat, will reflect on their artistic practice and the personal experiences that influenced their work over the past 10 years. They'll also examine how the exhibit's diverse imagery and media helps shape our understanding of the magnitude and complexity of the past decade with beauty, grace and humanity. Lyne Sneige, director of MEI's Arts and Culture Center, will moderate the discussion followed by Q&A .
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Media, Syrian War, Memory
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Christophe Abi-Nassif, Haneen Sayed, Alain Bifani, Nasser Saidi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon’s financial and socio-economic crises have been unfolding for nearly 18 months. The Lebanese pound is hitting all-time lows against the US dollar. Food prices have soared more than 400% in just one year. In the meantime, foreign currency reserves at the central bank are dangerously depleting. Citizens have lost access to their life savings and more than half now live below the poverty line. The country’s entire financial system is in dire need of restructuring. Amid the worsening financial collapse and growing civil anger, unrest and poverty, an end to the meltdown is yet to be seen. Where does Lebanon stand today, a year after the first sovereign debt default in its history? How did we even get here? What are immediate monetary and fiscal policy priorities to course-correct? What social policies and programs are needed in the immediate term? What can still be saved? Four Lebanese experts with frontline experience will tackle these issues and shed more light on Lebanon’s uncertain financial, economic, and social future as part of the Middle East Institute’s (MEI) Lebanon program’s events series.
  • Topic: Debt, Finance, Economy, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon