Working Groups

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Popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have had a deep impact, not only on the societies in the respective countries, but also on academic disciplines and scientific relations between Europe and Arab countries. Many of the developments that have taken place in the region are not exceptional but reflect and accelerate global trends. The importance of new media, new forms of social mobilization and new instruments of governance are not limited to the MENA. Through a transcultural perspective the working group aims to better understand these trends. We debate how ideas, norms and concepts are diffused in a context of mutual exchange and how scientific relations between Europe and the MENA can be improved.

Working Group Projects


Refugee Transfers in the Euro-Arab Mediterranean Zone: Tying the Past with the Present

Migration is not a modern phenomenon. The Mediterranean region is characterized by migration flows from north to south and vice versa since antiquity. The workshop aims to turn attention to the role of migrants and refugees as transmitters of knowledge and contributors to social and cultural development.

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Dynamics of Change: Media and the Public Sphere in Egypt

Although the Arab region has been marked as stagnating, the regional dynamics evolving since 2011 have launched processes that are reshaping the political, social and cultural landscapes. Media is influenced by and affects this process. The conference offered the opportunity to discuss relevant issues to the media in times of transformation and conflict.

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A New Wave of Populism in Europe and the Arab World

The current success of populist movements and politics is not limited to Germany and Europe. It is rather the symptom of times of crises on both sides of the Mediterranean. The conference aims to understand and compare different forms and concepts of populist politics. The Working Group seeks to explore the current situation of civic institutions facing politics labeled as populist.

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Working Paper Series: "Academia in Transformation"

The working paper series “Academia in Transformation” aims to provide an insightful and illuminating view of the transformation of the academic landscape in the aftermaths of the uprisings in the MENA region.

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Members in Charge


Hanan Badr

is post-doctoral researcher for Media and Communication Studies at Free University of Berlin, at the DFG-project “Media functions in Transitions”. Her research interests include international communication, comparative media systems, Islam and the media, journalism and public sphere with a focus on North Africa and Europe.

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Carola Richter

is Junior Professor for International Communication at the Free University of Berlin. Her main research interests include Arab media systems and political communication in the Muslim world, as well as media in relation to political transformation, religion and migration. In 2014, she started a German-Arab dialogue project: Communication in Transformation – Transforming Communication Studies.

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Jan Völkel

is Marie Sklodowska Curie Research Fellow at the Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

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