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


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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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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Members in Charge


Assem Abu Hatab

is Lecturer of Economics at the Suez Canal University in Egypt and Researcher in the Department of Economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in Uppsala. His work focuses on the international food and agricultural trade, the political economy of food and agriculture in North Africa and the impacts of China’s involvement.

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Florian Kohstall

is a political scientist. He is the head of the Cairo Office of Freie Universität Berlin. Since October 2015 he also coordinates the program Welcome@ FUBerlin, which facilitates access to the university for students who had to flee their home countries.

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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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