Throughout the countries of the Middle East, citizens view the state with suspicion. State institutions are often experienced as biased towards the powerful, corrupt and predatory, and as a sometimes violent means to safeguard the position of a ruling elite, or the domination of one part of the population over others. Participation, on the other hand, is mostly reduced to elections of questionable representational value, or relies on informal channels and structures and primordial relations, and thus reinforces existing patterns of subordination and power. The program Statehood & Participation supports initiatives that demand accountability and due process and encourage citizens to become aware, active and organized around issues of (gender-)democratic participation, freedom of expression and sustainable development.
It has been nearly a decade since Lebanese citizens last had the opportunity to go to the polls and cast their votes. The current parliament had been extending its mandate on three separate occasions mainly due to several reasons starting from not agreeing on a new electoral law to the ongoing war in neighboring Syria. Finally, in summer of 2017 a proportional law was agreed on and elections finally will be held on May 6 of this year. With elections approaching we have put together this dossier that would help the voter keep track of everything they need to know about the elections.
Lebanon, often described as the Paris or Switzerland of the Middle East, and still considered safer and more stable than most Arab surrounding countries, is constantly under threat of falling apart due to its political instability and corrupt politicians. Although many Lebanese have lost their faith in their political leaders, it seems that the politicians themselves are eager to go through with the parliamentary elections. The only plausible explanation is that the politicians are confident that their supporters will eventually give them their votes, perhaps for lack of better alternatives.
Conflict and crisis continue to be the double term most consistently associated with the region. A multitude of fault lines today run across the region, springing from unresolved grievances past and present. As flash points continue to erupt, such conflicts radiate out and reach those who once considered themselves safely away over the sea. Accordingly, international efforts and intervention are being stepped up to set things right - but all too often, they get it all wrong. The program Conflict and International Politics is designed to analyze the roots of conflict, encourage constructive engagement with the memory and repercussions of conflict, and inquire into avenues to peaceful and cooperative solutions.
Alex Rowell from Al-Jumhuriya speaks to Dr. Bente Scheller, director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation's Middle East office, on the recent German elections and their likely impact on European Syria policy, the ongoing debate over Western participation in the future reconstruction of Syria, threats faced by Syrian refugees both in Europe and here in the Middle East, recent military developments against ISIS and other actors in Syria’s east and north, and much more.
The Middle East is characterized by high income economies relying on energy exports, and middle to low income economies with limited resources for export. Both developmental models tend to neglect sustainability - but pollution, climate change and loss of natural resources already are rampant and will effect future generations even more drastically. Pushing for sustainable development is also a question of justice: between current and future generations, but also between those who have the means to isolate themselves from the negative repercussions of unsustainable practices, and those who have to bear the brunt of it. The program Environmental Justice puts special emphasis on the issues of climate change and renewable energies, on the access to public resources, and the right to sustainable agriculture and a just international trade regime.
Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs), represented through its offices in Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco, welcomes applicants from Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa to apply for its Regional Summer School 2018 that will take place between 15 - 21 July 2018 in Tunis, Tunisia.
The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is taking place from 6 to 17 November 2017 at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. The conference will be convened under the Presidency of Fiji.
Delegates from the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Offices worldwide and their partners are represented in the COP 23. The Heinrich Boell Stiftung, MENA Beirut office has supported journalists from the region to travel and report on the conference from Bonn.
The following web-dossier includes media coverage of the Bonn Climate Change Conference from delegates and journalists in English, French and Arabic.
National, political and religious identities remain subjects of contention around the region. People in the Middle East are called upon to rally around narrowly defined values that are deployed in struggles over markets, power and cultural hegemony, and often have little opportunity to choose and decide how to define themselves, where to look for sources of inspiration and pride. The program Culture and Dialogue wants to widen understanding about the cultural dimensions of conflict and their relation to globalization and inequality of power, and supports cultural expressions and perspectives of socio-political issues and cross-cultural exchange.
Following the success of “JOGGING- Theatre in progress”* in Beirut in October 2016, Hanane Hajj Ali will give additional performances in different places Lebanon in 2017 in order to reach audiences who have less access to theatrical performances and to discuss with them the main issues presented in the play.