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

MEDirections Roundtable | Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: The SDG16 on peace, justice and accountable institutions @ Mansarda Seminar Room
May 30 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm


Although the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN in 2015, made reference to democracy only once, its implementation is based on the principle of accountability, with explicit reference to the role of parliaments. One of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG16, focuses on the linkages between peace, justice and accountable institutions. Since the SDG16 infused some elements of democratic governance in the 2030 Agenda, it can be interpreted both as a stand-alone goal and as an enabler for the achievement of the whole SDGs framework. The presentation will address the role that democratic institutions and processes, as conceptualised in the SDG16, are playing for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with particular emphasis on the MENA region and Africa.

The presentation will be based on the analysis of some Voluntary National Reviews submitted to the High Level Political Forum since 2016, as well as data drawn from International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy report and indices. In particular, the presentation will take into account some regional trends emerging from data related to two targets included in the SDG16. As regards target 16.6 “Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels”, the analysis will focus on three attributes of the GsoD Indices: impartial administration, civil society participation, and local democracy. As regards target 16.7 “Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels”, it will address the attributes of representative government, checks on government, and participatory engagement.

Organiser | Christopher Fratina della Frattina, MEDirections 

Speaker | Massimo Tommasoli, Permanent Observer for International IDEA, United Nations (New York). Dr. Tommasoli holds a PhD in social anthropology from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. He worked in the field of aid and development at the OECD/Development Assistance Committee in Paris; at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Development Cooperation in Rome; and at UNESCO in Addis Ababa. He is a visiting scholar at the LUISS University in Rome, and he has lectured at various Italian Universities and the UN System Staff College in Turin. He has fieldwork experience in Colombia, the Horn of Africa, and the Russian Federation. His publications include: Nel nome dello sviluppo; Politiche di cooperazione internazionale; Democracy and the Pillars of UN Work; and El desarrollo participativo: Análisis sociales y lógicas de planificación.


Workshop | The call for change in Algeria: Understanding domestic and regional transformations @ Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia
Jun 10 @ 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

How can we understand the ongoing political contestation and protest movement in Algeria? What will its domestic and regional impact be?

This workshop will bring together Algerian academics, researchers and journalists with international specialists to analyse the domestic and regional transformations taking place. Through three thematic panels, the workshop will address the roots of the current protest movement and the dynamics at play between the movement and the Algerian regime, the role played by socio-economic transformations in the political contestation and the geopolitical impact of the current situation.

The sessions will be informal and interactive, with each panel consisting of a few short presentations followed by a debate among the speakers and attendees. The workshop will conclude with a policy-focused roundtable on key dynamics and future prospects for the country.


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
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. 

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