Academic Information

The Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP), Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies (INMOand Middle East and International Affairs Research Group (MEIA Researchwelcome applications for the 2020 Munich - Berlin Middle East Summer School.


The Middle East is one of the most exciting as well as most critical world regions in terms of global politics, world economics and social and cultural affairs. In its history’s most recent, tumultuous turn in early 2011, a wavelike proliferation of popular protests and revolts against autocratic leaders swept away the long-standing regimes of the presidents Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, Saleh in Yemen and Colonel Qaddafi in Libya. Syria 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, republics and monarchies, as well as Turkey and Iran have also felt the shock waves of popular uproar in recent years. Amidst the chaos, Al Qaeda and its affiliates have been working towards the establishment of a theocratic state transcending the Iraqi-Syrian border. Meanwhile, the conflict regarding the Iranian nuclear program intensified, then reached a surprising but limited truce in November 2013, which has been weakened by the confrontational policies of the US Administration under President Trump, supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel.

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.

Against this background, the MEIA Middle East Summer School Program offers insights into these and other developments and enigmas of the region.