Project Activities

The project includes activities like joint research-oriented conferences and workshops, student exchanges and summer schools, as well as the publication of Working Papers and of a book presenting the final results. This website is also available to present the project, its activities and results to an academic and general public.

Among the planned and already completed activities are:

Academic Workshop; 1-5 December 2014, Tehran / Iran

In cooperation with the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) the involved partner universities of the project organized as the final project activity a joint academic workshop in Tehran. The actual workshop took place on December 2nd and 3rd 2014. Before and after it the participants from abroad had a chance to get to know more about the host country, its history, culture and socio-political context during excursions and meetings at research institutions. The workshop brought together experts from the host institution CSR, the Mofid Unversity (Qom) and other Iranian research institutions to discuss with the experts from Germany, Morocco and Pakistan regional developments and challenges. The workshop included panels on “Challenges in the international and regional context and the foreign policy of Rouhani’s government”, “Socio-political change, political violence and the role of religion in the Af-Pak-Region” as well as “Developments in the Region after the Arab Spring: Different paths, different perspectives – The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, Sunni- Shia Rivalry”. The talks took place in a very open and fruitful atmosphere and gave impulses for further cooperation and publications. You can download the program here.


World International Studies Committee (WISC) conference;  6-9 August 2014, Frankfurt / Germany

In order to make the results of this project available to a broader audience, one of the joint activities this year was the participation in the WISC Conference in Frankfurt on August 8th 2014. Bringing together researchers from the countries involved in the project a panel was organized on the topic of “The Arab Spring and the Struggle for a Different State (hood) in the Middle East”. The panel which was moderated by Jan Hanrath included presentations by PD Dr. Andrea Fleschenberg dos Ramos Pineu from Quaid-e-Azam Univeristy, Islamabad/Pakistan (“Pandora’s Box or Ultimate Confusion The messiness of Pakistan’s Post-Colonial Imaginations and Contestations of State (hood)“), PD Dr. Jochen Hippler from University Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg/Germany (“Political Change, Counter Revolution and Civil War – Regional Instability and the Long Way to a Different State in the Middle East”), and Prof. Dr. Driss Maghraoui from Al Akhwayn University, Ifrane/Morocco (“The Government and the State: Reflections on the Dualism of Rule in Morocco”). Prof. Dr. Saloua Zerhouni from University Mohammed V-Souissi, Rabat/Morocco, served as a discussant of the contributions. The panel received broad attention and was followed by a lively discussion of the contributions.


Academic Workshop; 10-13 June 2014, Ifrane / Morocco

In the days after the event in Rabat an academic workshop at the Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane brought together more than a dozen of junior and senior researchers from the partner countries. Following up on the topics of the summer school the experts discussed the role of external actors in transformation processes in the MENA region as well as questions related to Western-Muslim relations in more detail. Presentations included the European Union’s policies towards the MENA region, in particular with regard to democracy promotion, international involvement in transitional justice in Tunisia and several country case studies on Iran, Pakistan and other regional actors. Furthermore PD Dr. Andrea Fleschenberg and Prof. Dr. Saadia Abid from Pakistan (both from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad) presented some initial results from their research project “Decentering Perspectives on Western-Muslim Relations – Views from the Pakistani ‘Periphery’”. A final discussion focused on the options and limits for external intervention in domestic processes of change.


Summer School “The role of external actors in transformation processes in the MENA region and Western-Muslim relations”; 4-9 June 2014, Rabat / Morocco

From June 4th to 9th June 2014 a joint summer school on “The role of external actors in transformation processes in the MENA region and Western-Muslim relations” was organized by the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) in cooperation with the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, Tehran (Iran), the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad (Pakistan), Al-Akhwayn University, Ifrane (Morocco), and the Mohammed V-Souissi University, Rabat (Morocco). The event was hosted by the latter in Rabat. Ten students each from Germany, Pakistan and Morocco participated in the summer school. About 20 lecturers, researchers and experts from Morocco, Pakistan, Germany, Iran and the United States prepared workshop sessions and contributed during different teaching formats. The topics of the lectures, panel discussions and workshops focused on external actors like the European Union, the United States of America, Iran and Turkey in the ongoing political changes in the Middle East. In addition, Western-Muslim relations were discussed from different perspectives. Furthermore, presentations on the host country Morocco provided insights in the Moroccan political and social system, its civil society and culture. Again the academic activities were accompanied by a cultural side program with excursions and joint evening activities.


German-Iranian student exchange; 6-20 October 2013, Tehran / Isfahan

Students at an excursion in Tehran

From October 6th to 20th 2013 the return visit of the German-Iranian student exchange brought a group of nine students and two researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen to Iran. The Iranian students who participated to German-Iranian student exchange in June set up a program for the group from Germany. Besides Tehran it also took place in Isfahan. The program in Tehran included discussions at the Faculty for World Studies at the University of Tehran, discussions at research centers like the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) – a think tank connected to the Iranian foreign ministry, and the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) – a research institution formerly headed by the newly elected Iranian President Rohani, and appointments at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation. Another visit to the Iranian Parliament offered the opportunity to get in contact with Iranian Members of Parliament and to discuss with them issues like minority rights and Iranian foreign policy. On the way to Isfahan a stop in the city of Qom and a meeting with the renowned cleric Grand Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli was scheduled. Students and accompanying academic teachers had the chance to discuss with him issues relating to Islam, Iranian society and government policies. In Isfahan the program continued with visits to the German Department of the University of Isfahan, a cultural center and the country’s biggest factory for ceramics. Here general questions relating to Iranian economy and industry as well as the issue of economic sanctions against Iran were discussed. Excursions to the traditional village of Abyaneh and the city of Kashan as well as the beautiful sights of Isfahan itself gave the students the opportunity to learn more of the country’s history and vast cultural variety.


International Summer School “Youth, State and Social Change”; Islamabad, 9-15 September 2013

Summer School 3013 Islamabad

Participants of the Summer School 3013 in Islamabad

From September 9th to 15th September 2013 the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) organized a joint summer school on “Youth, State and Social Change” in cooperation with the Mohammed V-Souissi University, Rabat, and Al-Akhwayn University, Ifrane (Morocco) as well as the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad (Pakistan) which was hosted by the latter in Islamabad. From the Moroccan and the German side eight students and two researchers each participated in the summer school. On the Pakistani side over 25 students took part in it. A total of about 15 researchers and experts participated and contributed during different teaching formats. In the lectures, panel discussions, workshops and poster presentations a special focus was put on the role of youth and the state in the current social and political processes of change in the MENA region and beyond in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, and in particular Pakistan. Main topics included the forms, strategies, and issues of political participation of women and youth in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the role of religious and political organizations in Iran or the impact of new social media for political mobilization and public opinion. An excursion brought the participants to the archaeological site of the ancient city of Taxila and gave them the opportunity to learn more about the Pakistan’s culture and long tradition. Not least due to the invaluable support by DAAD Long Term Guest Professor at Qaid-e-Azam University PD Dr. Andrea Fleschenberg dos Ramos Pinéu as well as the local DAAD representative in Islamabad, Ms. Ursula Saarbeck, the event has been a full success. For an article on the event (in German language) published in the DAAD magazine click here.


German-Iranian Student Exchange; Duisburg, 17-30 June 2013

Visit at the Deutsche Welle, Bonn

From 17th to 30th June 2013 eight students and two professors of the Institute for German Studies at the University of Tehran visited the University Duisburg-Essen. As was already practiced successfully in the previous year, a group of students from the University of Duisburg-Essen planned and organized the program for the visit of the Iranian group. The students got together for several times to discuss their plans and to adapt the program to the expectations and wishes of the Iranian students. At the end the program covered topics as diverse as multiculturality and migration, political participation, economic issues, media, international relations and German foreign policy, and intercultural dialogue. The Iranian students prepared presentations and inputs on the respective topics and additional researchers (mostly colleagues from the University of Duisburg Essen) and experts from research institutions, media, civil society organizations and municipal administration were invited to contribute to the discussions. For the German students and researchers on the other hand it was particularly interesting to learn more about the Iranian presidential elections which took place just three days before the arrival of the Iranian group. Excursions to places like the “Haus der Geschichte” in Bonn, the NS Documentation Center in Cologne, Deutsche Welle or the state chancellery in Düsseldorf complemented the sessions at the university. Besides seminars, lectures and panel discussions on the mentioned topics the program included cultural and social activities. These aimed at a deeper understanding for the host country and at actively contributing to intercultural dialogue. Among these activities were visits to the Kölner Dom, to Schloss Drachenburg and the Landschaftspark Nord in Duisburg.


Research Workshop; Duisburg, 5-8 June 2013

From June 5th to 8th 2013 about 20 researchers from Germany, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan and other countries of the region as well as several students of the University Duisburg-Essen discussed roles and strategies of different actors in processes of change in the Middle East. In panel discussions and working groups focus was put on the media, (public) intellectuals, religious actors, the military and women. Regarding research results, three working papers were discussed and finalized which will be published soon.


Research Workshop; Rabat, 21-23 November 2012
From November 21st to 23rd 2012 a workshop of more than a dozen researchers was organized at University Mohammed V – Souissi in Rabat/Morocco. Also, several of the Moroccan students who had participated in the Summer University in Duisburg/Germany in July/August 2012 (see below) were invited to follow the discussions.
The workshop brought together senior and junior researchers from the partner countries. It aimed at deepening the cooperation between the partners and offered an opportunity to discuss first research results, reflect the on-going project and to plan futureactivities. The main topic of discussion was “Identity Politics and Change in the Middle East – The Role of Class, Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity”. Also, the first draft of a working paper was discussed, which will analyze and compare the role of Armed Forces in Pakistan and in Iran.


Iranian and German students and teachers during an excursion in Tehran

German-Iranian Student Exchange; Tehran, 1-15 October, 2012

From October 1st to 15th ten students and two university teachers and researchers of the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) visited the Institute for German Studies at the University of Tehran (Iran). It was the return visit in the German-Iranian student exchange program of this project. An Iranian group of students and two professors had visited the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) in May 2012. Besides workshops, seminars and lectures at the University of Tehran the German students took part in several activities to learn more about Iranian culture, society and the country in general. Again intercultural dialogue was a major goal of this exchange activity.


Participants of the international Summer School together with the mayor of Duisburg Sören Link

Summer School “Peaceful Change and Violent Conflict”; Duisburg, 30 July to 4 August, 2012
From July 30th to August 4th the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) organized a joint Summer School on “Peaceful Change and Violent Conflict” in cooperation with the Mohammed V – Souissi University, Rabat (Morocco) and the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad (Pakistan). The Summer School aimed at providing students which already have basic knowledge in the fields of conflict studies, transformation research, International Relations or area studies with in-depth knowledge and analysis of the current events in the Middle East and North Africa and the Arab Spring, as well as social and political transformations in general. Theoretical approaches were discussed as well as the actual events and realities of Western-Muslim relations. Each day of the Summer School covered a particular field of research. After a general introduction and overview on the protests, upheavals, and revolutions of the recent past theories of social and political change were introduced and discussed. The second thematic cluster put the role of civil society actors as drivers of political change to the fore. Social movement theories and approaches on civil society in Muslim majority states were discussed and applied to different case studies. The third block was dedicated to factors of regime (in) stability and the roles of elites, militaries and other actors. A fourth section dealt with the implications of the Arab Spring for other world regions and for international relations in general. It focused among other topics on Western reactions to the events in the MENA region.

Iranian and German students and teachers during an excursion to Cologne

German-Iranian Student Exchange;Duisburg, 21 May to 3 June, 2012
From May 21st to June 3rd ten Iranian students and two university teachers of the Institute for German Studies at the University of Tehran visited the University of Duisburg-Essen. Within the context of the project the participants took part in several activities, mostly organized by the group of German Students in Duisburg. Besides seminars, lectures and panel discussions on German and international politics this included cultural and social activities. These aimed at a deeper understanding for the host country and together with the students from Duisburg at actively contributing to intercultural dialogue.

Rawalpini, Pakistan

Kick-off Meeting; Islamabad, 16 and 17 April, 2012
On April 16th and 17th researchers from the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the National Institute for Pakistan Studies (NIPS) at Quaid-i-Azam University met in Islamabad for a first project meeting. They discussed topics for future research and coordinated the upcoming project activities. Besides this, first contacts with the participants of the summer school in Duisburg were made and the content and a draft setup of this event presented.