Aula Mediterrània

We support interdisciplinary academic knowledge and research on Mediterranean issues, attracting talent and generating reflection

For more than 25 years, the IEMed has built a close collaboration with the university sector that culminated in 2010 in the holding of the WOCMES (World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies) in Barcelona. From this close collaboration, the Aula Mediterrània programme was born in 2014, a stable framework between the IEMed and the academic world.

Aula Mediterrània is held in coordination with more than a dozen master’s degree programmes from different universities that, in their syllabuses, teach content related to the Euro-Mediterranean region, and especially to the Middle East and North Africa. The aim of Aula Mediterrània is to support knowledge and research on Mediterranean issues and contribute to the internationalisation of local academia through the opportunity to mobilise experts, academics and actors who are relevant in the knowledge and study of the Mediterranean environment. Through this programme, they have the opportunity to network with universities around the world.

With the various universities involved, the IEMed structures the programme into three pillars, based on two lines of work concerning research and reflection: a series of lectures, an academic seminar and the Aula Awards for the Best Master’s Degree Final Projects on Mediterranean issues. These three pillars are complemented by student-led activities, research seminars organised by the teaching staff, which are supported by the IEMed, and initiatives such as film series and debates with key social actors in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Academic freedom ‒ the participating universities choose the topics and the participants in the different components, and therefore set the agenda of the programme ‒, plurality, and academic internationalisation and interdisciplinarity are the three premises that underpin Aula Mediterrània. All this with the ultimate desire to stimulate interest, study and research opportunities on Mediterranean issues among young university students. Aula Mediterrània encourages academic interest and innovation and is a pole for the creation of a critical mass of young people, interested in promoting relationships and knowledge around the two shores of the Mediterranean. By mobilising important figures from the academic, political, social and cultural world, from Europe and especially the southern shore, Aula Mediterrània is an essential event in the Mediterranean academic and cultural world.

Since the 2020-2021 academic year, Aula Mediterrània has twinned with the newcomer Aula Árabe, promoted by Casa Árabe from 2019-2020, to expand the range of lectures and encourage exchange between participants in both programmes.

The 2019 - 2020 edition

In the academic year 2019 – 2020, the Aula Mediterrània Interuniversity Programme offered a lecture series to better understand today’s Mediterranean state of affairs. In 24 lectures held between October 2019 until May 2020, international experts analysed the socio-political situation of countries such as Morocco, Jordan or Libya, cross-cutting issues such as migration, refugees, and the role of women or the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, among other issues.

In addition to the lectures series and the annual interdisciplinary seminar, the Aula Mediterranean programme (co-organised between the IEMed and 12 Master’s Degrees on Mediterranean issues), also awards the Best Master’s Degree Dissertations.

The awarded students of this edition are:

Irene Ceccarelli (Màster d’Estudis Àrabs Contemporanis, UAB)
“Motherhood: war, displacement and exile in Modern Arabic Literature”

This research analyses the representation of motherhood in contexts of war, displacement and exile in four contemporary literary texts. Since migration is a central theme to this study, common to all the analysed texts, it also draws attention to the self-representation of the subaltern. Given the difference of the authors’ backgrounds, one of the aims of this research is to show how universal and social motherhood and displacement can be, while maintaining a highly intimate and personal value. It also addresses the binary logic that confines mothers to “good” or “bad”, fueled by traditional and generalising rhetorics. This study is enriched by the interviews with two of the authors whose books have been analysed during the research.

Laura Terré Llorens (Màster Món Àrab i Islàmic, UB)
“Language policy and education in Morocco”

Morocco is a country with linguistic diversity where, in addition to Arabic and Amazigh as vernacular languages, French, English, or Spanish are languages of common use.
The research analyses the situation of each of these languages and the different language policies that the country has applied in the educational system since it achieved independence in 1956. At the same time, it investigates the different educational reforms driven in the first two decades of the 21st century from a linguistic point of view; as well as the debates that have emerged in recent years involving languages and education, which refer to the situation of the Amazigh, Arabic dialects, and foreign languages in the schools.

Mostafa Mohamed ElKordy Abdelmoaty (Master’s in Migration Studies, GRITIM-UPF)
“How does the terrorism in North Sinai affect the border control in Rafah, during different ruling regimes in Egypt?”

This thesis is tackling border control policies in Egypt, focusing on Rafah border, possibly one of the most complex in the region and also in the entire world. Furthermore, I analyze the possible relation between the control of this border and terrorism in Sinai during different ruling regimes in Egypt – Mubarak, Morsi and Al Sisi- filling a crucial gap in the literature.
This has been based on qualitative methodology, using case selection to identify and select major terrorist attacks during the different ruling regimes, and analyzing primary and secondary documents, jointly with expert interviews, to analyze the decisions taken by the different actors and reveal the inter-subjective reasoning behind each reaction in terms of border control.
The results show that, surprisingly, all the different regimes analyzed took very similar paths of the adversarial approach. Also, despite the supposed relevance of terrorist attacks for border control, exogenous and endogenous pressure play a major role in shaping the border policies.