Islam, Democracy, and Civil Society: The Euro-Mediterranean Experiences

  • 09:00AM to 14:45PM
  • 28 May 2018
  • Middle East Technical University, Ankara

The role and weight of the civil society have become more prominent in the last decade, especially since the Barcelona Summit in 1995 and the Arab uprisings starting with 2010. Euro-Mediterranean relations have been increasingly shaped and influenced by people-to-people interaction. However, debates on civil society cannot be divorced from a larger social, cultural and political debate around Islam and secularism in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Furthermore, the debates revolving around Islam can no longer be presumed to be a debate only in and of the Muslim-majority countries but it has also increasingly become a debate in and of Europe with a large number of popular and academic discussions on the so-called European Islam, its potentials as well as limits.

As the participation of the civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean is strongly encouraged and supported by European actors, it is essential that this issue is approached and analysed as a multi-dimensional phenomenon. Furthermore, it is of capital importance that domestic and regional grounds for civil society consolidation and the necessary socio-political and socioeconomic conditions for the flourishing as well as the effectiveness of civil society in the processes of democratic transitions of the countries in the region are debated with a scientific approach.

The workshop aims to tackle the issue of civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean region within the larger perspective of the debate on Islam in Europe. Thus, it intends to create a space for a critical assessment of the tendency in the existing literature to analyse civil society and Islam as separate and isolated issues. By bringing together academics, practitioners, activists, students and decision-makers, the workshop will primarily focus on  youth and everyday life practices; women and civil society; secular and religious examples of civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The workshop is organised by the Center for European Studies at Middle East Technical University in cooperation with EuroMeSCo and IEMed.