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Session 4: Winter of Discontent in the MENA Region

Session 4: Winter of Discontent in the MENA Region

Discussion points:

  • Do you share the view that MENA region has for too long been observed solely from the standpoint of migration, conflict and stability?
  • Which factors are omitted in most contemporary analyses? How do you find the prevailing discourse in Europe?
  • In terms of economy and governance, who is doing well, and who is not? Why?
  • Where is the (untapped) potential of the region? How can it be unlocked?
  • Which are the challenges of tomorrow that worry you the most? Can some of them – crisis caused by climate change, perhaps – move the region towards peace? Or worse, could it be the source of future conflict?
  • Is Europe (the EU) “doing its share” in the MENA region? If we speak of a stable and prosperous region, whose responsibility is it?

If not the Western Balkans, then Southeast Europe, the MENA region is in the immediate neighborhood. The simplistic picture of this fantastically diverse and complex region, as a place of emigration to other, richer countries, is not enough; it is even offensive by reducing entire societies to this eternal periphery of sorts. We are witnessing that there are “pockets of development” in each of the companies in the MENA region. Intra-regional migration is also significant. Young people – the hundred million of them who will take the stage in the coming years – need to be more carriers of change. The same is true of women, especially in those countries that do not find the concept of gender equality developed in Western societies acceptable. The general context for this to happen, however, is hardly favorable, burdened by decades of rivalry and tension between key regional players. In the meantime, the challenges of the future will be particularly felt in MENA countries: the climate and demographic crisis.

 

Previous BSF sessions:

2018: SESSION 2: THE MIDDLE EAST: MAKING SENSE OF A REGION IN TURMOIL

2017: SESSION 1: A CRISIS OF VALUES OR MANAGEMENT: MIGRATION IN 2017

2013: SESSION 8: RETHINKING THE EU’S MEDITERRANEAN POLICIES: EUROPE’S SECURITY SHORTCOMINGS

2013: SPECIAL EVENING TALK: IRAN AFTER ELECTIONS: INTERNATIONAL PROSPECTS