To check the past events organised by the Programme, visit EVENTS 2016 (Archive)

MEDirections Roundtable | Religious Minorities and Support for Authoritarian Regimes in the Middle East @ Seminar Room Mansarda
Jun 13 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Many Arab authoritarian regimes have tried to portray themselves as protectors of religious minorities in order to strengthen their political legitimacy, in particular towards the West. This is notably the case with the Syrian regime under Bashar Al-Assad. A similar discourse could be observed in Egypt, Iraq and Morocco as well. Jihadi movements opposing these regimes have also used the same claim of minorities’ support to authoritarian regimes to justify their violent attacks against religious minorities, as with the attacks committed by ISIS-Egypt against several Coptic churches in recent years.

This roudtable seeks to investigate this relation between religious minorities and political regimes in the Middle East. While most of the debate over this issue often treats religious minorities as one homogeneous actor with one political voice, this roundtable seeks to question this view by looking at the diversification within the same religious group: who are the different religious actors within the same religious community and what are their political attitudes?

The roundtable will also challenge the singling out of religious minorities, by comparing the case of religious minorities to other political groups that are often also accused of supporting authoritarian regimes, such as leftist groups in the Middle East and in Europe.


Alessia Melcangi is a Research Fellow at the Sapienza University of Rome and collaborates with the Centre of Research on the Southern System and the Wider Mediterranean (CRiSSMA – Catholic University of Milan). Her research mainly focuses on the contemporary history of North Africa and Middle East, with particular attention to the social and political dynamics in Egypt.

Gennaro Gervasio is currently a senior lecturer in History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa in Roma Tre’s Department of Humanities. His research interests include civic activism and social and protest movements in the Arab World.

Georges Fahmi is Research Fellow at the Middle East Directions Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre. His main research area is religion-state relations in the Middle East.


Prof. Olivier Roy (EUI – RSCAS)


Summer School on Post-conflict Stabilisation: The Day After IS Military Defeat @ Sala del Capitolo, Badia Fiesolana
Jul 9 @ 9:00 am – Jul 11 @ 6:00 pm

Applications open on 28 March until 15 May.

Application deadline extended until Friday 25 May


The Middle East Directions Programme in collaboration with the EUI’s School of Transnational Governance is organising the second edition of the MEDirections Summer School, taking place in Florence (Italy) on 9 – 11 July 2018.

The Summer School on Post-Conflict Stabilisation will focus on the main challenges facing the post-Islamic State (IS) scenario. It aims to provide policy-makers, practitioners and academics with in-depth analyses on the most relevant factors affecting these areas and the broader region. Three case studies will be central to the programme: Syria, Iraq and Libya.

A predominantly military approach by the International Coalition and the MENA countries characterises the fight against IS terrorism. Over the past year, IS has lost most of the territories it had controlled in Syria, Iraq and Libya since 2014. To date, post-conflict stabilisation efforts have been limited and have focused primarily on security and humanitarian assistance.

Fundamental questions surrounding post-IS defeat remain largely unanswered: How can sustainable pacification of the liberated areas be ensured? How can a local and national governance system conducive to long-term stabilisation be created? How can the impact of stabilisation and reconstruction aid be maximised? How can the IS military defeat’s influence on the jihadist sphere in the MENA region and in Europe be controlled?

To seek answers, the Summer School will address three strategic issues by drawing on practitioners’ experience, on the latest academic analysis and on field-based research:

  1. The economic and security dimensions of post-conflict stabilisation: how to build an assistance strategy that provides basic services to communities;
  2. Strengthening local powers and identifying local actors who can play a positive role in building inclusive governance systems;
  3. The future of jihadist movements: how to build a narrative that counters IS ideology in the case-study areas and deal with IS’s former fighters or militants.


Agnes Favier (EUI) and Virginie Collombier (EUI).


Frederic Wehrey | Senior Fellow, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Amer Karkoutli | Syria Stabilisation Programmes Specialist

Loulouwa Al Rachid | Co-director, Programme on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States, Carnegie Middle East Center

Emadeddin Badi | Consultant and Stabilisation Facility Project Coordinator, Peaceful Change Initiative

Charles Lister | Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute

Oussama Chourbaji | General Manager, AFAQ Academy

Keynote lecture by Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou | Professor and Chair of the Department of International History, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

For more details and practical information, please visit the dedicated webpage at:

Link to the EUI’s announcement:

Draft Programme