1. Conferences and debates

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Hunger and conflicts in the Arab world today Play

Hunger and conflicts in the Arab world today

Published at 22 17,,, 19 2019
On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at the Casa Árabe headquarters in Madrid, we got the chance to hear an analysis of this topic by Nicolas Oberlin, the assistant regional director of the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe of the UN World Food Program. Presented by Yolanda Álvarez Maza, a former correspondent in the Middle East and the president of TVE’s News Programming Board. The conflicts causing upheaval in the Arab world are leaving millions of people without access to food. From Syria to Palestine, and in the refugee camps of Tindouf and Yemen, a country suffering the greatest humanitarian emergency of our times, the UN’s World Food Program provides essential services to the most vulnerable population. Based on his experience in the region, Nicolas Oberlin discussed the relationship between conflicts and hunger, as phenomena which feed back into each other, and the keys to breaking the vicious circle which threatens the future of the youngest generations. Nicolas Oberlin Nicolas Oberlin is an experienced humanitarian and development professional with more than two decades of service behind him at the United Nations and NGOs at the international level. He is currently the assistant regional director for the region of the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), in charge of supervising the agency’s activities in responding to large-scale humanitarian emergencies and prolonged crises. Since he joined the WFP 20 years ago, Oberlin has held various positions at the entity’s headquarters in Rome and in the field, as well as working at humanitarian aid sites in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Before taking on his current position at the WFP’s regional office for the Middle East, Oberlin was an assistant representative of the WFP in Nepal and WFP’s representative in Tajikistan. Oberlin has degrees from the ESSEC Business School in France and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He currently lives in Cairo, Egypt. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/hunger-and-conflicts-in-the-arab-world-today


  • 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
  • The Circus in Morocco: Past, present and future of an evolving ancestral art (FRENCH)Show video

    The Circus in Morocco: Past, present and future of an evolving ancestral art (FRENCH)

    2018.21.03. Casa Árabe and Circo Price organized this conference, on the occasion of the visit by the Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger. The conference was given by Sanae El Kaamouni, director of the Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger, who was accompanied by María Folguera, the director of Circo Price. Born from a warrior tradition, acrobatics in Morocco is a pure science of the circus that combines human pyramids, spins and jumps. The Moroccan acrobats who belonged to the order of Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa learned their art in the public squares of towns and villages, and on the beach in Tangiers, alongside their elders, who became teachers. The circle of Halka, like the evenings in trance, carry out the same function held in European antiquity by Carnivals. The free-flowing energy in the moving body does away with the hierarchy of classes and the imposed sociocultural order for a few hours. This motion replenishes, soothes the ego, lowers one’s defensiveness and releases individuals. In this dual dialectic which characterizes them –including both tradition and contemporary creation, from both Morocco (in African lands) and France (in Europe)–, the Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger places us face-to-face with the extraordinary subjects of today’s world, forming part of one of the most innovative border territories in our region’s current circus scene. Sanae El Kaamouni, director of the Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger, shared a tour through the history of acrobatics in Morocco with the audience in Madrid: from the warrior pyramids of the fifteenth century to today’s flourishing Moroccan circus art, including the contact between European circuses and acrobats from the Maghreb region in the mid-nineteenth century. It is a fascinating story for the curious and lovers of knowledge and travel, showing the circus as a kaleidoscope of cultures, images and origins. The Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger was presenting the show “Halka” on the dates of April 4 and 5 at the Teatro Circo Price in Madrid. Tickets now being sold on the Circo Price website. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/the-circus-in-morocco-past-present-and-future-of-an-evolving-ancestral-art
    Published at 30 12,,, 18 2018