18 June

08.30 – 09.00


09.00 – 09.20

Welcome Remarks

Senén Florensa, Chair of EuroMeSCo General Assembly; President of the Executive Committee, IEMed – European Institute of the Mediterranean
Josep Ollé, Director Palau Macaya, “la Caixa” Banking Foundation

09.20 – 10.00

Opening Session

Miguel García-Herraiz, Deputy Secretary General,  UfM – Union for the Mediterranean
David Llistar, Director of Global Justice and International Cooperation, Barcelona City Council
Alfons González, Director General for European and Mediterranean Affairs, Government of Catalonia
Diego Escalona, Regional Programmes Neighbourhood South, DG NEAR, European Commission

10.00 – 11.30

Plenary Session 1: Taking the Pulse of Civil Society and Social Movements in the Euro-Mediterranean Region

Over the last years, a number of social movements hit the roads and/or the social networks in a number of countries both north and south of the Mediterranean. This plenary session will explore in a comparative perspective their impact, their approaches, their main actors, and their possible connections. Beyond these visible movements, the session will also examine other issues related to the situation of civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Aleksandra Chmielewska, EuroMeSCo Project Manager, IEMed –European Institute of the Mediterranean
Kholoud Alajarma, PhD Researcher, Groningen University; Coordinator, Mediterranean  Youth for Water Network
Ezzahra Benlahoussine, PhD Candidate, Mohamed V University Rabat
Francesca Caruso, Junior Researcher, IAI – Istituto Affari Internazionali
Loes Debuysere, Researcher, CEPS – Centre for European Policy Studies
Mariam Mecky, Independent Researcher, NPF fellow, ACSS – Arab Council for the Social Sciences

11.30 – 12.00

Coffee break  

12.00 – 13.30

Plenary Session 2: Engaging with Civil Society in the Southern Mediterranean: Assessing Policy Responses to Civil Society and Social Movements

The spectrum of how governments have been dealing with social movements and civil society is broad. In some cases, the civil society effervescence that prevailed at the beginning of the decade was partly rolled back. In other cases, governments have realized their potential and influence and have tried to factor them in. The European Union has continued not only to encourage contacts between civil societies from both shores of the Mediterranean but also to support and involve civil society in southern Mediterranean countries.

Emmanuel Cohen-Hadria, Head of the Euro-Mediterranean Policies Department,  IEMed –European Institute of the Mediterranean
Galip Dalay, Director, Al Sharq Forum
Jessica Northey, Research Fellow, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations
Tarik Nesh-Nash, CEO, GovRight
Sarah Anne Rennick, Deputy Director, ARI – Arab Reform Initiative

13.30 – 14.30


14.30 – 16.30

Parallel Working Sessions

Working Session 1: The Spatiality of Social Movements: Cities at the Frontline

While social movements in the Euro-Mediterranean region may have in many cases a strong local dimension, they acquire most of their salience through urban expressions and cities become the epicentre of such movements. Cities across the Euro-Mediterranean region have not only hosted these movements, they have also represented as such an object of contention as illustrated by the “right to the city” slogan. Various forms of urban movements have challenged the governance of public spaces. In a comparative Euro-Mediterranean perspective, this session will explore these different aspects and will address among other questions:
What are the various forms of urban activisms?
What are the common features of those movements in northern and southern
To what extent are they connected?
What sort of governance issues does it raise for authorities?

Rabha Allam, Researcher, ACPSS – Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies
Paper presenters
  • Urban Movements in Lebanon: An Opportunity for Civil Society to Engage in the Production of the City. By Rana Hassan, Researcher, Orient Institute of Beirut, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid;
  • “It is by Walking that we Learn to Make the Revolution!”: Mobility at the Heart of the Algerian Popular Movement. By Ghaliya Djelloul, Researcher, UC Louvain; GERMAC – Groupe d’études et de recherches sur le monde Arabe contemporain
  • Can Public Policy Induce New Forms of Urban Social Mobilization? EU Cultural Funding in the Southern Neighbourhood. By Hannah Abdullah, Researcher, CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs
Ricard Gonzalez, Journalist and Political Scientist, Regular Contributor at El País
Rana Aytug, PhD Candidate, CTPSR – Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations

Working Session 2: Civil Society and Online Connectivity

The growth of digital space has unleashed the potential for increased activism of civil society across the Euro-Mediterranean region. The virtual connectivity through a number of online platforms enabled civil society to join forces and advocate for changes. At the same time, the digitalisation brought new questions, of a need to re-define the public sphere and to review the social contract. While optimism prevails, many argue that the digital space has also allowed the governments to enhance their control over civil society and social movements. Against this background, the session will explore civil society activism online and address the following questions:
To what extent online activism translates into changes on the ground?
Are there any limitations to online activism?
How could governments exploit the online space to embrace the civil society in the policy

Ahmed Driss, Director, CEMI – Centre des études méditerranéennes et internationales
Paper presenters
  • Does the Digital Realm Fragment Civil Society? By Amro Ali, Assistant Professor, American University of Cairo
  • Social Media, Civil Society and the Algerian Protests of 2019. By Laurence Thieux, Researcher, Complutense University Madrid
  • Mouvements sociaux en ligne et nouvelles forms d’expression citoyenne en Tunisie postrévolutionnaire. By Sihem Najar, Researcher, Université Tunis el-Manar
Ángela Suárez, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Salamanca
Rashed Jayoussi, Project Officer. DCAF – The Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance         


Working Session 3: Civil Society’s Role in Promoting Migrants’ Rights and Inclusion

Due to the rapid increase of migration flows to Southern Mediterranean countries and Europe over the last years and the shortcomings of policy responses, civil society has been at the frontline in promoting migrants rights in migration policies (including at the EU level) and in acting accordingly be it in rescue operations or in addressing needs in terms of reception and inclusion. The session will explore the attitudes and responses of civil society in the Euro- Mediterranean countries to the migration phenomena and address the following questions:
What has driven the increased engagement of civil society towards the migrants?
To what extent the actions of civil society have impacted the policy responses?
How could civil society actors and national/sub-national administrations better cooperate
towards addressing challenges related to the integration of migrants and refugees?

Zeynep Guloz Bakir, Project Manager. PODEM – Centre for Public Policy and Democracy Studies
Paper presenters
  • Civil Society’s Role in Promoting Migrants’ Rights and Inclusion? By Kathya Berrada, Researcher, MIPA – Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis
  • Civil Society Organisations and Migrant Women in Egypt: Current Role and Future Perspective. By Marwa Nazeer, Associated Researcher, ACPSS – Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies
  • Perception of Civil Society towards Syrians in Turkey: Motivations, Discourse and Practices. By Gülşah Dark, Project Officer, PODEM – Center for Public Policy and Democracy Studies
Miriam Hatibi, Activist and Spokesperson, Ibn Battuta Foundation


16.30 – 17.00

Coffee break  

17.00 – 18.45

Plugged-in sessions: Discussing latest developments in the region

19 June

09.30 – 11.00

Plenary Session 3: Civil Society as a Driving Force of Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation and Integration

Connections between civil societies on both sides of the Mediterranean have intensified as a result of various factors such as the constitution of civil society and subnational networks, the role of diasporas, digitalisation and the emergence of common causes and agendas. Therefore, its potential to push for innovative both political and sectoral solutions and be a driving force of regional cooperation and integration is largely untapped, raising the question of its involvement in current Euro-Mediterranean institutional frameworks. As such, civil society can represent an antidote to growing divisions and conflicts in the region.

Lurdes Vidal, Editor-in-Chief of afkar/ideas and Director of the Arab World and Mediterranean Department, IEMed – European Institute of the Mediterranean
Aida Ridanovich, Mediterranean Forum Director, Anna Lindh Foundation
Wadih Al-Asmar, Secretary General, Lebanese Centre for Human Rights, President of Euromed rights
Cengiz Gunay, Senior Researcher and Deputy Director, OIIP – Austrian Institute for International Affairs
Itxaso Domínguez, Coordinator of Middle East and North Africa Programme, Fundación Alternativas

11.00 – 11.30

Coffee Break  

11.30 – 13.00

Presentation of results of the EuroMeSCo research groups

The Role of Russia in the Middle East and North Africa. Strategy or Opportunism?

Valeria Talbot, Senior Research Fellow, Co-Head of Middle East and North Africa Centre, ISPI – Italian Institute for International Political Studies
Main authors
Youssef Cherif, Deputy Director, Colombia Global Centers – Tunis
Mira Milosevich, Senior Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute
Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, Research Fellow, ISPI – Italian Institute for International Political Studies
Alexandra Kuimova, Research Assistant, Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, SIPRI – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Comments by
Marc Franco, Senior Associate Fellow, EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations

Climate Security in the Sahel and the Mediterranean: Local and Regional Responses

Abdelhak Bassou, Senior Fellow, Policy Centre for the New South
Main authors
Amira Halim, Senior Researcher, ACPSS – Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies
Patricia Lisa, Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute
Comments by
Xira Ruiz-Campillo, Professor, UNISCI – Research Unit on Security and Cooperation, Complutense University of Madrid

Cooperation with Religious Institutions as a European Policy Tool

Patrycja Sasnal, Head of Middle East and North Africa Project, PISM – The Polish Institute of International Affairs
Main authors
George Fahmi, Research Fellow, EUI – European University Institute
Yasemine El Menouar, Associate Fellow, DGAP – German Council on Foreign Relations

13.00 – 14.00

Coffee Break  

14.00 – 15.30

Kick-off meetings of the new set of EuroMeSCo research groups

The Role of China in the Middle East and North Africa. Beyond Economic Interests

Katarzyna Sidlo, Political Economist, CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research
Main authors
Erzsébet Rozsa, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of World Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Alexandr Lagazzi, Communications Manager, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy
Lars Andersen, Senior Research Fellow, DIIS – Danish Institute for International Studies
Camille Lons, Programme Coordinator, ECFR – European Council on Foreign Relations
Comments by
Bichara Khader, Founder, GERMAC

Infrastructures and Power in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa. The Crossroads of Regional and Global Geopolitics

Eduard Soler, Senior Researcher, CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs
Main authors
Florence Gaub, Deputy Director, EUISS – European Union Institute for Security Studies
Ahmed Kandil, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Energy Studies Program, ACPSS – Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies
Laura Basagni, Program Coordinator, GMF – The German Marshall Fund
Victor Salama, Professor, Cairo University

Water Security in the Middle East

Liel Maghen, Co-director, IPCRI – Israel-Palestine Creative Regional Initiatives
Shira Kronich, Associate Director, Arava Institute
Main authors
Ali Oguz Dirioz, Assistant Professor, TOBB University of Economics and Technology
Tobias Von Lossow, Research Fellow, Clingendael – Netherlands Institute of International Relations
Mahmoud Shattat, Senior Water and Sustainable Energy Specialist, Oxford Policy Management
Desireé Quagliarotti, Researcher, ISSM – Institute of Studies on Mediterranean Societies
Giulia Giordano, International Affairs Manager, Ecopeace Middle East
Christiane Froehlich, Research Fellow, GIGA – German Institute of Global and Area Studies
Comments by
Itay Fischhendler, Associate Professor, Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations