Working Group Project

Advancing Peacebuilding and Gender in the MENA Region


In search of fostering peaceful communication in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, an ambitious project by AGYA members Dr. Faouzia Zeraoulia and Dr. Mujtaba Isani together with the Working Group Arab and German Education culminated in the international conference 'Peacebuilding and Gender in Transitional Societies'. In collaboration with the Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) and the High Institute of Applied Science in Humanities in Tunis, the event sought to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of violence, both individual and collective, while emphasizing the crucial role of institutions, especially higher education institutes, in the pursuit of peace and social cohabitation.

Over two enlightening days, scholars from diverse backgrounds engaged in profound discussions on peacebuilding and gender in transitional societies. The conference addressed critical issues in Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Sudan and Tunisia. Participants, with backgrounds in various disciplines such as political sciences, psychology, education, history, computer sciences, law, philosophy, information security, natural science, and agriculture, created a rich variety of perspectives. Grassroots activists involved in peacebuilding processes in their respective countries added a practical dimension to the discussions, opening doors to new insights and ideas for future projects.

Education is the main avenue to peacebuilding and social cohabitation. It guarantees the transmission of new worlds and societies that encourage cultural respect and dialogue. Scholars and teachers are not mere academics, but bear responsibility to frame words, expressions, beliefs, and perspectives that draw the lines of justice, equality, and freedom both in our days and for the next generation.

Faouzia Zeraoulia, AGYA member

The Transformative Role of Education in Peacebuilding and Social Cohabitation

In their welcome session, AGYA members Faouzia Zeroulia and Prof. Dr. Sascha Hein together with the MECAM’s academic coordinator Dr. Julius Dihstelhoff provided an overview of AGYA missions, MECAM thematics, and the event's underlying approach.

The conference panels on both days then explored challenging questions revolving around topics from children trauma in conflict zones, women's resilience in Algeria during the Civil War, women's rights and political participation in Lebanon, and social integration policies to higher education and teaching in turbulent contexts, and the relation of academic freedom and higher education in Tunisia and Libya.

With its variety of academic and practical perspectives, the conference sought to raise awareness on the role of higher education in Arab countries and explore strategies to ensure a more integrated involvement of scholars in the peacebuilding process. Another significant focus was placed on providing comprehensive insights into the role of women in academic communities in vulnerable regions. Additionally, the event aimed to underline the necessity of a multidisciplinary mobilization, analysing and formulating new peace approaches to enhance peace in the region.

Encouraging an open dialogue between German and Arab scholars and experts, the conference transcended geographical and disciplinary boundaries, providing a unique platform for collaboration, dialogue, and knowledge exchange. The insightful discussions and diverse perspectives laid the foundation for a continued and long-lasting dialogue, fostering positive change through academic collaboration and anticipating a positive impact on peacebuilding efforts in the MENA region and beyond.