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.
"Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research" invites submissions for the sixth issue slated for publication in December 2017. Young activists, independent researchers, graduate students and fresh graduates are particularly encouraged to apply. Kohl also welcome submissions from seminal contributors in the field.
As a religion, Islam is often accused of discriminatory practices towards women. Whether this is true or not cannot be easily determined. On the one hand, there are indeed many verses in Qur’an which assert that women are not equal to men in their human and social status , or in matters of inheritance , court testimony , polygamy, and personal cleanliness . According to Qur’an, on many matters women are not permitted to have a voice - this is particularly the case in sexual relationships. On the other hand, there are other verses in Qur’an which suggest the opposite is true. These verses advocate for equality and harmony between men and women in an Islamic society.
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.
Where can we begin to seek for justice in a war that sees violations of basic human rights committed by almost all conflicting parties? In our conference “How to do Justice? Accountability for Mass Atrocities in Syria” we invited panelists from different fields of expertise to find answers to this very urgent question.
When so-called ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS) fighters were reported to have blasted and bulldozed the ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud into the ground last year, the rest of the world lined up to condemn its actions. One ISIS militant, engaged in the destruction of Assyrian antiquities in the Mosul museum, told the camera ‘we were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them.’
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.
The garbage crisis in the context of which Beirut was haunted by bad smell in the past year, is still awaiting a satisfying solution. For the time being, it is not that hot and there is an enjoyable change of air in Beirut, so it is not that obvious.
President Donald Trump declared that he would start measures to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, putting his country back into the “rogue state” category in international climate negotiations.
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.