The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) at the European University Institute (EUI) established the Middle East Directions Programme (MEDirections) in 2016. The current programme is a continuation of the Mediterranean Programme, which positioned the EUI at the forefront of the Euro-Mediterranean research dialogue between 1999 and 2013.

MEDirections has the ambition to become an international reference point for research on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, studying socio-political, economic and religious trends and transformations. It aims to do so by promoting multidisciplinary research based on fieldwork findings and collaboration with researchers from the region. The programme benefits from the expertise of researchers speaking the main languages of the region, including standard and colloquial Arabic, Persian and Tajiki Persian, Turk and Russian.

Research outputs / Publications are in both English and Arabic.

MEDirections research takes a medium to long-term perspective that aims to identify trends, as opposed to the short-term policy agendas that are characteristic of think-tanks and other non-academic institutes.

The MEDirections is founded on two main pillars:

  • Analysis based on field research conducted in the region;
  • A multi-disciplinary approach focused on studying key, intertwined dynamics;

MEDirections objectives are:

  • To produce high-quality academic research on the MENA region, that can inform policy-makers and practitioners in Europe and in MENA countries;
  • To create a forum for researchers within Europe and the MENA region to share analytical perspectives and broaden research networks, and to integrate these researchers into contemporary policy debates;
  • To organise, co-ordinate and facilitate the EUI’s research output on the MENA region, developing synergies with other world-leading research centres located within the EUI.

MEDirections research activities currently focus on:

  • the socio-political, security and religious transformations taking place at the local, national and transnational levels;
  • the conflict dynamics, their roots and consequences for the regional order as well as for national and local governance;
  • the new political economy of the region and its impact on political developments, as well as on future stabilisation and reconstruction efforts

MEDirections seeks the active involvement of donors and partner institutions, as well as academic experts and associate researchers, to consolidate the programme’s relevance and to maximise the impact of its outputs. Potential donors or partner institutions should contact Donato Di Bartolomeo (Project Manager) for more information.