During the 2017 Munich-Vienna Middle East Summer School, students will be provided with a broad understanding of the key political, economic, and societal developments in the contemporary Middle East. In the seminars, students will be taught by academics and practitioners with long-standing experience in the Middle East and given the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with students from the region in focus.
In addition to the academic part, the Summer School also includes visits to institutions such as the United Nations in Vienna, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Further, the Summer School offers a rich cultural program with sightseeing, visits to museums, traditional Munich beer gardens and Viennese coffeehouses, a trip to Salzburg, and much more
Since early 2011, the Middle East has undergone considerable change. Within a matter of months, the Arab Spring, the wavelike proliferation of popular protests and revolts against autocratic leaders, swept away the long-standing regimes of Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya, and Saleh in Yemen. Syria has turned into a civil war zone in which a heterogeneous opposition, supported by several external actors, fights against the Assad regime and against itself. Other regimes including non-Arab Turkey and Iran have also felt the shockwaves of popular uproar. Amidst the chaos, Al Qaeda and its affiliates work towards the establishment of a theocratic state transcending the Iraqi-Syrian border. Meanwhile, the conflict regarding the Iranian nuclear program intensified before reaching a surprising but limited truce in November 2013.
The economic problems that were an important cause of the developments of the Arab Spring have not disappeared. In contrast, the ongoing political instability has aggravated the situation in Tunisia and Egypt. Youth unemployment is still rising as are food prices, and the economically crucial tourism industry is far from recovering to pre-2011 levels. In the Arab Gulf monarchies, youth unemployment is also a growing problem and a future challenge for the survival of the rentier state economies.
Since the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the heterogeneity and seeming irreconcilability of moral and religious ideals within the societies of Middle Eastern states have become apparent. Diverging opinions on the role of religion in politics and society, the aspect of religious freedom, the role of women, and other fundamental questions have split the societies of all regional states.