Working Groups


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.

Members in Charge

Mohammad Alwahaib

Department of Philosophy, College of Arts, Kuwait University

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Hanan Badr

Communication & Media Studies
Freie Universität Berlin Institute for Media and Communication Studies

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Lena-Maria Möller

Law, Middle East Studies
Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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All Working Group Members

Nadine Abdalla

Political Sociology
American University in Cairo, Sociology Unit, Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Egyptology

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Jan Busse

Political Science, Middle East Studies
Universität der Bundeswehr München, Institute of Political Science

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Tamirace Fakhoury

Political Science
Lebanese American University, Department of Social Sciences

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Fatima Kastner

Law, Sociology
Institute for World Society Studies Bielefeld University Faculty of Sociology

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Khalid Ibrahim Talahma

Birzeit University Department of Law

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Working Group Projects

Interdisciplinary International Workshop: ‘The Area Studies Controversy Revisited’

The persistent need to revisit the so-called Area Studies Controversy (ASC) from multiple disciplinary angles guided a workshop titled “The Area Studies Controversy Revisited”. By taking the Middle East as its example, the workshop attempted to revisit the ASC, take stock of the debate and exchange innovative ideas in order to yield new perspectives.

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Learning Lessons on Reconciliation from Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Working Group Transformation explored opportunities and pitfalls of reconciliation politics in post-conflict countries in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2018 together with guests from the Arab world and Europe.

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AGYA Transformation Group visits EU and NATO in Brussels

In December 2017 AGYA members visited Brussels to discuss current challenges for EU-Arab Cooperation with high-level representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament and NATO.

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

AGYA members Tamirace Fakhoury and Jenny Oesterle organized the international AGYA workshop on ‘Refugee Transfers in the Euro-Arab Mediterranean Zone: Tying the Past with the Present’. The workshop took place from 10 to 12 April 2017 at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Byblos.

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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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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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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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