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

MEDirections Roundtable | Arendt, Fanon and Political Violence in Islam | with Patrycja Sasnal @ Sala Belvedere, Villa Schifanoia
Oct 14 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Abstract | Dr. Patrycja Sasnal will present her new book ‘Arendt, Fanon and Political Violence in Islam’. The book looks at contemporary political violence, in the form of jihadism, through the lens of a philosophical polemic between Hannah Arendt and Frantz Fanon: intellectual representatives of the global north and global south. Its interest is, firstly, the relation of Arendt’s thought mostly as expressed in On Violence (1969) to Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961) and, secondly, the transposition of that relation to the contemporary phenomenon of violent Islamic extremism. Throughout the study a greater commonality between Fanon and Arendt is revealed, as well as the universal function of jihadism that satisfies the conditions for political violence, as categorized by Fanon in the global south and Arendt in the global north.

Read in tandem, Arendt and Fanon help uncover the fundamental problems of our, European, American, Middle Eastern and African, political systems, as well as north-south relations. By studying political theory, the book finds global political commonalities in a postcolonial reality.

Speaker | Dr. Patrycja Sasnal is a political scientist, Arabist and a recent graduate in philosophy. She is head of research at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw. She is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ council, European working group on Egypt and the Polish Ombudsman office’s expert commission on migration. She specializes in Middle Eastern studies, radicalization, migration trends, and modern political thought. She studied at Jagiellonian University, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, was associate researcher at the American University in Beirut and Fulbright scholar at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Her latest book in political philosophy – “Arendt, Fanon and Political Violence in Islam” – has just been published by Routledge in 2019.

Everyone is welcome.


MEDirections Annual Conference | “Conflicts and Natural Resources in the MENA Region and its Immediate Neighbourhood “ @ Badia Fiesolana
Oct 21 @ 9:00 am – Oct 22 @ 8:30 pm


More information here.

Draft programme


MEDirections Autumn School 2019 | Natural Resources and Geopolitics in the MENA: Disruptions, Transformations and Pathways  @ Badia Fiesolana
Oct 23 @ 9:00 am – Oct 25 @ 1:00 pm


Focus | Natural resources have historically played a prominent role in the economies, political economy and international relations of MENA countries. They are also central to the trade and investment strategies of the region’s local and multinational companies. How do geopolitical trends interact with local dynamics to affect how natural resources are exploited and managed?  What role will natural resources play in stabilising the region in the future? What challenges do natural resources present to decision-makers, security establishments, the private sector and broader society 

Methodology | The MEDirections Autumn School will provide stakeholders, policymakers, practitioners and academics with a detailed overview of geopolitical trends that affect the value, consumption, allocation and protection of natural resources over the coming years. In addition, participants will analyse in-depth case studies that explore the impact of these dynamics at the local level. The programme will balance theory with practice, culminating in a scenariobuilding exercise to strengthen strategic thinking and highlight the various ways the MENA region’s natural resources sector could develop in the new geopolitical sphere.  

 In particular, the programme will:  

  • Provide a forum for participants to explore the interaction between macro and micro trends, and their impact on natural resources management, taking into account geopolitics, governance, energy transition and connectivity; 
  • Analyse different future scenarios; 
  • Discuss new mechanisms for positive engagement with different stakeholders. 

The Autumn School will address these strategic issues by building on practitioners’ experience, as well as on significant academic analysis and fieldbased research. Instructors are reputable academics and experts from leading institutions, including current and former practitioners. 

Audience | The school is addressed to a variety of actors operating in the sectors of natural resources management, investment and security, including civil servants of national authorities, international organisations, private sector professionals, representatives of civil society organisations and researchers. 

Preliminary Programme 

Day 1: Geopolitical dimension 

  • The geopolitical, commercial and societal forces shaping the future of natural resources. 

Day 2: Governance dynamics and strategies 

  • The challenges and opportunities for natural resources exploitation in the region in the coming years;  
  • The transnational, domestic and local dynamics affecting the management of resources. 

Day 3: Investment decision-making 

  • New natural resources management mechanisms to mitigate future risks and mediate potential conflicts.  
  • Energy transformation and connectivity outlook in the region. 

A Group Practicum based on scenariobuilding will be developed throughout the 3 days of the course. 

Fees | Fees for participation in the course are €1300*.  

 A discount of 25% will be applied to the charges for international, European and national civil servants, as well as to members of NGOs.  

A discount of 10% will be applied to early bird registrations.  

* The fees cover the cost of the course as well as coffee and lunch breaks. Travel and hotel costs are not included in the fees. 

 Full or partial fee-waivers, as well as a limited number of full scholarships (all expenses covered, including travel and accommodation), are available on merit or needs basis. Priority is given to applicants from the MENA region for full scholarship places. 

Application |  Applications open on 21 May 2019. 

The deadline for scholarship and fee-waiver places is 21 July 2019. 

Deadline for all applications: 15 September 2019.

Extended deadline: 30 September 2019.

To qualify for the early bird registration, payment should be made by 1 September 2019. 

Draft programme