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

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  • Hunger and conflicts in the Arab world todayShow video

    Hunger and conflicts in the Arab world today

    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
    Published at 22 17,,, 19 2019
  • Feminisms, religion and secularismShow video

    Feminisms, religion and secularism

    On Tuesday, March 26, there was a new session in our series titled “Dialogues on Open Societies,” given by journalist and writer Mona Eltahawy, along with fellow writer Najat el Hachmi. Presented by Karim Hauser, Casa Árabe’s Coordinator of International Relations. Reports from different international entities coincide in ranking the countries of North Africa and the Middle East amongst the worst in terms of gender equality. Though the situation differs by country, and in certain cases the Law has moved ahead considerably in guaranteeing rights on paper, the unrest which began in 2011 has not achieved the inclusion of women in public life under conditions of equality with men, and many consider themselves second-class citizens. Perhaps Tunisia could be named as a unique case where the triumph of protests has led to an improvement in women’s status. Through their activism, many Arab feminists question the oppressive mix of politics, cultural habits and religion which permeates every layer of society, and they continue fighting to make their voices heard, both inside and outside the region. Mona Eltahawy, who authored "Headscarves and Hymens", and Najat el Hachmi, the author of "The Last Patriarch", met at Casa Árabe to discuss this problem and call out to demand gender equality. The event included the participation of the publishing firm Capitán Swing and the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, CCCB). Mona Eltahawy is a columnist and international analyst of the subjects of Arabs, Muslims and feminism. She was a correspondent for Reuters in the Middle East for six years and has worked for the media in several countries in the region, and in China. She is currently collaborating with media such as the New York Times and The Guardian. She is a member of the Communications Consulting Group Musawah, the movement for justice and equality in the Muslim family. She has received a wide range of awards and acknowledgments for her work as a journalist, and Time magazine named her a “person of the year” along with other activists from around the world. She is the author of the book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the world needs a sexual revolution. Najat el Hachmi was born in Morocco after her father had already emigrated to Catalonia. At the age of eight, she moved to the town of Vic. She earned her undergraduate degree in Arabic Philology from the University of Barcelona. She has been writing since she was eleven years old, in the beginning as a form of entertainment, but little by little writing grew into a way for her to channel her thoughts about feeling like she was from two places at once, and a way to bring these two worlds to which she belongs closer together. In 2004, her book Jo també sóc catalana (I Am Catalan, Too) was published. She appears as a guest speaker on the radio and has articles published in the written press. Her work The Last Patriarch was bestowed with the Ramon Llull Award of 2008 and the Ulysse Award for a first novel in 2009, and she was a finalist for the Prix Meditérranée Étranger in 2009. The series “Dialogues on Open Societies” is an initiative of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation with the cooperation of Casa Árabe, co-directed by Doménec Ruiz Devesa, Advisor for the Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, and by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/“dialogues-on-open-societies”-series-of-conferences#14462
    Published at 18 17,,, 19 2019
  • Dialogues on Open Societies. 4. The good neighbor policy with the MediterraneanShow video

    Dialogues on Open Societies. 4. The good neighbor policy with the Mediterranean

    The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Nasser Kamel, is taking part in another session of the series Dialogues on Open Societies. It will be taking place in Madrid on Thursday, February 21. Nasser Kamel will be taking part in a conversation with Senén Florensa, Spain’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and other International Bodies in Vienna. The event will be presented by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe. Regional cooperation and dialogue form the foundation for dealing with the major challenges faced in the Mediterranean Basin from the perspective of stability, human safety, the environment and a reactivation of the economy. The Union for the Mediterranean, with its twenty-eight EU members and fifteen countries from the southern shores, as a direct heir to the Barcelona Process (1995), is in a unique position to seek opportunities and strengthen the good neighbor and integration policy. The role of women in society, transportation, energy, industry, the environment and employment are just parts of the common agendas to be analyzed by the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Nasser Kamel, in his talk with Ambassador Senén Florensa, Chairman of the Delegate Commission of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). The series Dialogues on Open Societies is an initiative of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, with the cooperation of Casa Árabe. Nasser Kamel is the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean. A career diplomat of the Egyptian government, he held the position of Ambassador of Egypt in the United Kingdom from 2014 to 2018, and was the Ambassador to France from 2006 to 2012, during which time he took part in the drafting of the Paris Summit Declaration of 2008, which marked the launching of the Union for the Mediterranean. From 2004 through 2006, he was the director of Egypt’s Public Information Service. Before holding that position, he worked at various embassies, including those in Washington (1984-1988), Lisbon (1990-1994), Tunis (1994-1998), Brussels (1999-2001) and Paris (2001-2004). Kamel studied Political Science at the University of Brussels and at the University of Cairo’s School of Economic and Political Science. Senén Florensa is currently Spain’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the Office of the United Nations and other International Bodies in Vienna. He was Spain’s Consul General in Rome from 2017 to 2018 and Spain’s Ambassador to Tunisia from 2000 to 2004. He was the Director General and later Executive President of the European Institute of the (IEMed) from 2006 through 2017. He is the director of the journal afkar/ideas and of the Mediterranean Yearbook published by IEMed. He was the president of the World Congress of Middle East and North Africa Studies (WOCMES) in 2010, the Secretary of International and European Affairs of the Autonomous Regional Government of Catalonia and a member of the Organizing Committee of the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/“dialogues-on-open-societies”-series-of-conferences#14418
    Published at 28 07,,, 19 2019
  • Libya: What are its prospects after seven years of conflict?Show video

    Libya: What are its prospects after seven years of conflict?

    2018.14.11. Casa Árabe, with the cooperation of the consultancy firm Stractegia Consulting, brought together two experts to discuss the current situation before the presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya. The event included the participation of Otman El Gajiji, former president of the High National Electoral Commission of Libya, and Barah Mikaïl, the director of Stractegia Consulting. It will be presented by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe. Since the uprising in Libya in February of 2011, the country has been plunged into a series of conflicts. The many attempts to drive the country towards reconciliation and democracy have been unsuccessful, and Libya remains deeply polarized. In the midst of this political division, in which militias play an important role, Libyans are attempting to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, a risky endeavor that may lead to a greater escalation in violence if carried out in an improper manner. What are the factors that threaten the upcoming elections in Libya? Who are the main role-players, what are their interests and what demands are at stake? What opportunities have arisen to prevent violence and lead towards new scenarios? Can women play any role in the reconciliation process? Casa Árabe, with the cooperation of the consultancy Stractegia Consulting, brought together two experts to discuss the topic. Otman El Gajiji is a former president of the High National Electoral Commission and the Central Committee for Elections of the Municipal Councils. He is the president of Ishara Consultancy Services, a consulting firm whose headquarters is located in Tripoli. It gives advice on technology, education and policy, as well as electoral procedures. His expertise in the field of elections and local governance. He has a PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. Barah Mikaïl is the director of Stractegia Consulting and an associate professor at Saint Louis University’s Madrid campus. Prior to this, he worked as a main researcher in geopolitics and security at the Foundation for International Relations and External Dialogue (FRIDE), as well as a head researcher on the Middle East and North Africa, and water-related topics at the International and Strategic Relations Institute (IRIS, 2002-2010), with headquarters in Paris. More info: http://en.casaarabe.es/event/libya-what-are-its-prospects-after-seven-years-of-conflict
    Published at 38 05,,, 18 2018
  • 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