AJCS Fellow participates at the Euro-Arab Dialogue Workshop at College of Europe

Posted on: Wed, 07/31/2019 - 11:03
Inside the European Commission in Brussels [Al Jazeera]

The Belgium-based College of Europe hosted the first workshop on Euro-Arab Relations in Bruges and Brussels between July 15 and July 19, 2019, with 24 participants both from the League of Arab States and the European Union and from civil society/think tanks/academia selected from a list of 300 candidates. 

As an EU-funded project, the objective of the workshop entitled “El-Hiwar” was “to strengthen dialogue, cooperation and collaboration with key regional actors involved in Euro-Arab relations, through a number of activities including institutional training courses and policy dialogues.” It included lectures, dedicated workshops focusing on skills, panel/roundtable discussions, a study visit to EU institutions and many opportunities to expand the professional network among the participants.

In his presentation “Constructing a Euro-Arab Dialogue Discourse in the Public Sphere”, Dr. Mohammed Cherkaoui, senior fellow at Aljazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS), addressed the challenges and expectations of the Euro-Arab dialogue from a constructivist approach since individuals and societies derive their perceptions, positions, and worldviews from the media, both traditional and social media. He explained how “the media is a fluid field of competitive narratives, discourses, and political philosophies”, and pointed to the new dynamics of the Arab public sphere since the uprisings of 2011.

Cherkaoui also highlighted the emergence of popular skepticism and radicalized narratives across the norther states of the Mediterranean Sea, amidst growing populism, nationalism and right-wing politics in Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Spain. The recent European elections, held May 23-26, 2019, have solidified the new balance of power with growing numbers of nationalists in the European Parliament. He also pointed out the shift in Europe’s position from the advocacy of Arab democratization and empowering the Arab civil society (2011-2014) to a debate between the strategies of convergence/divergence in shaping the EU foreign policy towards the Arab states (2014-2019).

Cherkaoui also addressed the dilemma of extremism and political violence, prospects of moderate Euro-Islam, and the significance of second and third generations of Euro-Arabs/Muslims in reshaping identity politics, which raise new questions about alternative approaches and tools of change, especially in the year of the European Union elections, which represent more than 512 million people from 28 member states.

At the media gallery of the European Commission in Brussels [Al Jazeera]

In his comments about the drivers of change in the Euro-Arab relations, Cherkaoui argued for a shift in the Euro-Arab peacebuilding discourse beyond its normativity and romanticized idealism into a pragmatic and result-oriented strategy. “These are two areas of promising engagement between European and Arab nations. However, they remain under-studied in the field of peacebuilding and mediation. First, empowering Arab and Euro-Arab civil society, as a promising agent of change, to help conceptualise innovative initiatives in both European and Arab public spheres, and ultimately push them, as new points of entry, into formulating public policies on both sides of the Mediterranean. Second, nurturing a fear-free Arab public sphere in the post-2011 Uprisings era, as various media outlets frame and reframe their narratives about complex current affairs throughout the open-ended daily cycle of news,” he stated.

Dr. Cherkaoui commented on the significance of the interconnectedness between civil society and the media in mobilizing bottom-up calls for change of perceptions, worldviews and strategies. His proposal aimed at developing an alternative paradigm where Euro-Arab civil societies and the media can serve as promoters of peacebuilding and cultural mediation.

New political groups in the European Parliament [Al Jazeera]

Recent Events

The way to a new Gulf security order starts with dialogue and trust-building

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 11:27

“Toward a New Gulf Security Regime: Abandoning Zero-Sum Approaches” was brought to a close on 22 January 2020 after its participants shed light on internal and external variables that necessitate a new Gulf…

AJCS seminar concludes: New media has limited authoritarian regimes’ ability to control public opinion

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 15:11

A dialogue seminar organised by Al Jazeera Centre for Studies on Saturday, 11 January 2020, in Doha under the title “The Role of the Media in Shaping Representations and Manufacturing Reality,” concluded that…

In a research conference: The role of UNRWA and the future of Palestinian refugees

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 08:52

The conference was organised by AJCS in concert with the Palestinian Return Centre and the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, and consisted of four panels in which research…

The Arab world is experiencing a historical transformation that is shaping a new reality

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 06:26

A panel discussion organized by Al Jazeera Centre for Studies on Tuesday, 19 November 2019, in Doha, in concert with the Forum for Arab and International Relations and Al Jazeera Mubasher.

Renaissance Dam is a fait accompli and it is in everyone’s interest to reach a negotiated solution

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 07:50

The panellists concluded that Egypt must improve its relations with Sudan, resolve the border dispute involving Halayeb and Shalatin, and support the democratic transition in Sudan in order to bring stability…

DOC-AJCS Symposium: “Dialogue of Civilizations: Healing the Past, Moving Towards Shared Path”

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 12:32

The second round of the Tunis Process, a joint project between the Berlin-based Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC), Aljazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS), and the LBH Foundation shifted the focus…