1. Conferences and debates

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10. The geopolitics of conflict and cooperation in the Mediterranean (ENGLISH) Play

10. The geopolitics of conflict and cooperation in the Mediterranean (ENGLISH)

Published at 53 17,,, 19 2019
On Tuesday, May 21, we held a new session in our event series titled “Dialogues on Open Societies” in Madrid, with this conference. Taking part were Gerald Knaus, founder of the European Stability Initiative, and Kristina Kausch, a senior researcher for the German Marshall Fund. Moderated by: Eduard Soler i Lecha, a senior researcher at the CIDOB. The rivalries between regional powers have been shifting and changing since the 2011 uprisings. Alliances are becoming increasingly volatile and inconsistent, in terms of both state and non-state role-players. In order to understand the way these conflicts are being redefined, as well as seeking out paths for cooperation in the Mediterranean, it is essential that we examine internal, regional and global dynamics. This analysis will take a look at a few specific cases and the way in which the EU has reacted to crises, above all in fields like migration and security. Similarly, there will be a discussion of United States’ role in the region and the way in which geopolitical borders have grown blurrier, involving neighboring regions like the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Balkans, as well. Gerald Knaus is the founder of the European Stability Initiative, a think-tank with offices in Berlin, Brussels and Vienna, which does work on southeastern Europe, the Caucuses, European expansion the future of the EU. Kraus studied at the Universities of Oxford, Brussels and Bologna, and has taught Economics at the University of Chernivtsi in Ukraine, as well as working for five years at NGOs and international entities in Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 2001 to 2004, he worked at the UN Mission in Kosovo. He was a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and is a specialist on state-building processes and intervention. Kristina Kausch joined the German Marshall Fund in Brussels in 2016. Ms. Kausch’s research focuses on Europe’s political relations with the Middle East and North Africa, political transformations in the Arab world and geopolitical trends in the Middle East. Prior to that, she worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, directed the Middle East Program at FRIDE, and was an expert at the German cooperation agency GIZ. She has had three books published on the region, as well as articles in both academic journals and the written press (The Guardian, El País, Middle East Eye and Süddeutsche Zeitung). Eduard Soler i Lecha is a senior researcher at CIDOB and the scientific coordinator of MENARA, a European project on geopolitical changes in the Middle East and North Africa. He is a political scientist and has a PhD in International Relations from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His fields of work include: Euro-Mediterranean relations, Turkey’s foreign and domestic policy, political change in North Africa and the Middle East, Spain’s Mediterranean policy and cooperation in the field of security in the Mediterranean. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/“dialogues-on-open-societies”-series-of-conferences#14545


  • Karen Armstrong visits Casa ÁrabeShow video

    Karen Armstrong visits Casa Árabe

    The author, awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2017), gave a conference on "The Challenges Facing Islam in the Modern World". The current world is turbulent and complex, and many regions of the planet are immersed in crises and conflicts that Western public opinion associates with the religious fact, particularly Islam. Karen Armstrong will reflect on the origins of violence as historically associated with political power rather than religious beliefs. The academic will talk about Islam, its historical evolution in comparison with the other two great monotheistic religions, Christianity and Judaism. She will also tackle the relationship of Islam with the processes of modernization and secularization of societies, reflecting on the widespread assumption about the supposed incompatibility between Islam and democracy. We will know which are, from her point of view, the challenges that the 21st century faces from a global perspective and in the interest of a greater understanding among the different communities that inhabit the planet. We will try, ultimately, to shed some light on where should, both individuals and institutions, direct our actions. Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religion, including A History of God, which became an international bestseller; The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism; Islam; Buddha; and The Great Transformation, as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into 43 languages. She has addressed members of the US Congress on three occasions; lectured to policy makers at the US State Department. In 2006, she was invited by Kofi Anan to join the High-Level Group of the new UN Alliance of Civilisations; in 2008; She was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal; in 2009, she was awarded the TED Prize and with TED founded the Charter for Compassion, which is now a global movement. From 2008- 2016, she was a Trustee of the British Museum; in 2013, she was awarded the inaugural British Academy Al-Rodhan Prize for Improving Intercultural Relations; and in 2017, she was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/karen-armstrong-visits-casa-arabe
    Published at 21 08,,, 18 2018
  • Art and Conflict: Challenges and prospects for artistic creation in today’s LibyaShow video

    Art and Conflict: Challenges and prospects for artistic creation in today’s Libya

    On the occasion of the exhibition “Tracking a Vanishing Landscape: Contemporary creation in Libya,” Casa Árabe has organized this round table discussion, with the participation of the exhibition curator and two artists whose work is on display. The event included talks by Najlaa El-Ageli, the exhibition’s curator and artists Takwa Abo Barnosa and Hadia Gana. Presented and moderated by: Nuria Medina, Casa Árabe’s Culture Coordinator. This round table discussion analyzed the role played by artists and producers of culture in Libya, in light of the events and uncertainties affecting the country today. We will attempt to learn more about the context in which art and creation take place in a country whose modern and contemporary history has been complex and is quite unknown to the Spanish public. The round table discussion participants will be analyzing the most important problems affecting cultural institutions and artists in Libya, and they will debate over the prospects for young creators who have spent their careers living under the pressure of the revolutionary movements of 2011, known as the “Arab Springs,” having used their work and activities to contribute to building a sense of citizenship and participation. Najlaa El-Ageli, the exhibition curator, was the founder of the entity Noon Arts Projects, which is devoted to increasing the visibility and voice of the art and contemporary creation scene in her country of origin, Libya. Intervening in the round table discussion along with her are two of the artists featured in the exhibition Tracking a Vanishing Landscape, who have traveled to Madrid from Tripoli just for this purpose. Hadia Gana is a specialist in ceramics and installations. She creates works with a major social component and brings up topics involving Libyan society, such as corruption, post-revolutionary trauma and the collective memory of Libya’s modern social and cultural history. Her work has been exhibited on many occasions outside of Libya. She is currently the director of the Ali Gana Foundation, created in memory of her father, a well-known Libyan intellectual who worked to preserve the country’s cultural heritage. The foundation is preparing the opening of the Ali Gana Museum in Tripoli, with the mission of offering an artistic, cultural and educational space open to everyone. Takwa Abo Barnosa, the youngest artist in the exhibit and also a resident of Tripoli, is a specialist in Arabic calligraphy, an art which combines all types of mixed techniques, above all the digital printing of images from current times and of journalistic interest about Libya. In her work, Barnosa deals with the current state of political chaos, anarchy and widespread disorder. In 2015, along with Abdullah Turkie, she founded the WaraQ Art Foundation, a non-governmental organization which strives to strengthen the cultural and artistic cooperation and sharing between the Middle East and North Africa. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/art-and-conflict-challenges-and-prospects-for-artistic-creation-in-today’s-libya
    Published at 10 11,,, 18 2018
  • Challenges for Iraq after the defeat of Daesh (ARABIC)Show video

    Challenges for Iraq after the defeat of Daesh (ARABIC)

    04.26.2018. Members of the Shia, Sunni and Christian faiths in Iraq took part in this conference, organized by Casa Árabe, the Embassy of Iraq in Spain and the Alulbeyt Spain Foundation. The official proclamation of victory against the self-named Islamic State (Daesh), achieved by Iraq’s government in December 2017, has opened up a new era for the country. In 2014, Daesh controlled one-third of Iraq’s territory, almost a third of Syria and had reached as far as just a few kilometers from Baghdad. However, thanks to the cooperation between various local forces and the Iraqi Army, the lost terrain was recovered, bringing the end to a situation that seemed to be driving a strategic region of the world towards disaster. It is best not to become too triumphalist, though, because the region is still mired in profound instability, and there are still major challenges in reconstruction faced by the country in order to achieve long-term stability and complete the reconstruction process. This conference brought together Iraqis of the Shia, Sunni and Christian faiths to analyze the country’s current state of affairs. Taking part in the event were Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al Museli, representative of the Great Ayatollah Ali al Sistani in the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan; Dr. Khalid Al Mulla, a researcher on social and religious subjects and the president of the Centrism and Moderation Foundation, and Father Naim Ayoub Shoshandy, a former parish vicar at the Cathedral of Qaraqosh. The event was moderated by Yusuf Fernández, an Arabist and member of the Alulbeyt Foundation. It was presented by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/challenges-for-iraq-after-the-defeat-of-daesh
    Published at 10 04,,, 18 2018
  • Women’s struggle for socio-political participation in the Arab worldShow video

    Women’s struggle for socio-political participation in the Arab world

    05.08.2018. Within the framework of the seminar Women’s leadership and participation in Arab countries, Casa Árabe organized this conference, in which three experts analyze the situation for women in the region. Two months after International Women’s Day, it is now a good time to stop and take a look at the situation in Arab countries. The social changes over the last decade in many of the MENA region’s countries may be seen from different vantage points, ranging from inequality in gaining access, sectarianism and gender-related violence to positive indicators of political participation through the media, art, urban mobilizations and even the polls at election time. The way in which women have lived these changes merits a space for sharing experiences, whether in terms of marginalization or empowerment, and thus for analyzing the degree of participation by women in the socio-political arena. The conference included talks by Manal Al Dowayan, an independent Saudi artist; Faten Kallel, former State Secretary of Tunisia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Nada Nashat, defense coordinator at the Center for Legal Assistance of Egyptian Women (CEWLA). Moderated by: Karim Hauser, from Casa Árabe. The conference was held as part of the seminar Women’s leadership and participation in Arab countries, which also included the participation of Reem Khalifa, an independent journalist from Bahrain, and Rauda Morcos, a Palestinian activist for LGBT rights. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/women’s-struggle-for-socio-political-participation-in-the-arab-world
    Published at 07 04,,, 18 2018
  • Syria: The impossible revolution (ARABIC)Show video

    Syria: The impossible revolution (ARABIC)

    04.17.2018. Syrian political opposition leader Yassin Al-Haj Saleh presented his work at the Casa Árabe headquarters in Madrid. This is a compilation of texts which the author has been publishing since the beginning of the insurrection in his country. Along with the author, the event included speeches by Santiago Alba Rico, a Spanish writer, essayist and philosopher, and Naomí Ramírez Díaz, the book’s translator and publisher. The event was presented by Karim Hauser, Casa Árabe’s International Politics Coordinator. The work which we are presenting, published by Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo, is a compilation of texts which Yassin Al-Haj has written since the insurrection in Syria, when that process began on March 15, 2011. Though not well-known in Spain, Yassin Al-Haj is one of the most important intellectuals among Syrian dissidents. “Someone might think that this book talks about Syria and its defeated revolution, about the Assad dictatorship and the Near East, about imperialism and the Kurdish question (Chapters 10, 11 and 13 are quite interesting and controversial), on Jihadism and violence. But it is more than that. This book speaks about us all. One of the theories that Al-Haj Saleh has upheld in recent years is that Syria reveals and represents a universal destiny, and therefore it is impossible to think about Syria, and even less so about the globalized world, without thinking about our common fate. This is why every time we produce a discourse to forget, negate or avoid Syria, we are really just doing damage to ourselves.” Santiago Alba Rico Yassin Al-Haj Saleh spent sixteen years in jail for his Communist militancy. Since the year 2000, after finishing his studies in Medicine, which he was forced to give up because he was imprisoned, he has been writing a book of stories about his experience in jail, as well as The Syrian Question, published in France by Sindbad-Actes Sud. He regularly contributes articles to the newspapers Al-Hayat, Al-Quds al-Arabi and Al-Jumhuriya. In 2012, he was granted the Prince Claus Award of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the social impact of his writings, though he was unable to collect the award since he was living underground in Damascus. He is currently an associate researcher at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. His wife, Samira Khalil, the author of Diary of the Siege on Douma in 2013, has been missing since she was kidnapped in December of 2013, along with Razan Zaituneh, Wael Hammada and Nazem Hamadi. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/syria-the-impossible-revolution
    Published at 58 24,,, 18 2018