Posted on December 22, 2016

The  Department of International Affairs (DIA) at Qatar University College of Arts & Sciences (QU-CAS) inaugurated on December 21 its symposium on “Trending Middle East Politics: Tentative Dialogues”.

The 2-day symposium (December 21-22) brought together scholars from Qatar, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunis, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to share their ideas on some of the most influential themes in the Middle East (ME) region. Attending the inauguration ceremony were CAS associate deans for Research and Graduate Studies Prof Hala Sultan Al-Essa, for Academic Affairs Dr Hassan Abdel Aziz and for Students Affairs Dr Yaser Hussein, and DIA Head Dr Ahmed Ibrahim, as well as CAS faculty and students.

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The event included a series of dialogues aimed to map and assess conflicting trends within and across the ME states and societies. The program’s agenda featured numerous sessions delivered by Researcher at University of Jordan Center of Strategic Studies Dr Muhammad Abu Rumman, Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE and Chairman of the Arab Council for Social Sciences Prof Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, Head of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) in Jerusalem Dr Mahdi Abdul-Hadi, Senior Researcher at Al Jazeera Center for Studies Dr Fatima Ahmad Alsmadi, Palestinian Academic and Associate Professor of PR & Advertising at Birzeit University Dr Nashat Aqtash, and Researcher at the Grenoble Université Pierre-Mendès Dr Amal Boubekeur.

They discussed a wide range of topics such as “Iran’s Role in the Region”, “Islamists and Governance: the Test and Contest of Power”, “Religion: Systemic vs Anti-Systemic”, and “In Search of A Conceptual Framework: Theory, Practice and Research”. In her remarks, Prof Hala Sultan Al-Essa said: “There is no doubt that the Arab region is going through  serious challenges which require working on finding political solutions to face the crisis taking place in many countries in the Arab world. Thus, there is an urgent need to organize this conference, which aims to re-read the Arab political scene from the perspective of inter- disciplinary studies through discussions and dialogues between researchers in the field of political science, international relations, and humanities and social sciences on various themes such as state and society; religion, freedom and security; and identity and colonialism.”

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She added: “This symposium brings together CAS’ academic departments and research centers along with other research centers within and outside Qatar, which is in line with QU and CAS vision to encourage inter-disciplinary research and studies through various events.” Dr Ahmed Ibrahim said: “We are honored to host this distinguished group of outstanding researchers and specialists within the field of political science and international relations and from various Arab countries. This conference comes at a critical time when many sectarian and political groups are impacting the Arab political scene. It is also an excellent opportunity to stimulate the intellectual movement and deepen interventions among academics and politicians.”

He added: “The Department of International Affairs is unique of its kind in Qatar and the region in terms of focusing on modern and diverse approaches in the study of international relations, and we cherish the presence of a number of researchers within the cadre of faculty members in the department, especially those who contributed to strengthening the academic and intellectual cooperation with many institutions worldwide.”