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Workshop: Germany in the EU and the Mediterranean

ZEI Cooperation with the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies Malta (MEDAC)

Workshop: Germany in the EU and the Mediterranean

Gebhard Reul, Ambassador Karl Xuereb, Barabara Wolf, Tunne Kelam, Dr. Monika Wohlfeld, Prof. Dr. Ludger Kühnhardt

Freedom, democracy, and progress. In his lecture at ZEI on 7 February 2012, Tunne Kelam, Member of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, connected his personal experience torn between dictatorship, peaceful revolution and the start of a new era in Estonia and the current events going on in the Maghreb region in the so-called “Arab Spring“. Thereby he particularly pointed out the meaning of freedom as well as the wish and the fight for one’s own identity and sovereignty. At the same time, using the “Prague Spring” and the following slow revolution in Eastern Europe as an example, he explained that societal and political changes may take more than one generation until they make an impact.

Kelam’s speech marked the beginning of a joint workshop of ZEI and the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC) of Malta taking place from 7-10 February 2012. Under the title “Germany, the EU, and the Arab Spring” ZEI students and fellows as well as young students and diplomats of the Middle East, from the Caucasus region and some African countries who study at MEDAC, met at ZEI to discuss, exchange ideas and listen to different lectures.

In addition to Kelam who, as member of the Committee in Foreign Affairs, actively follows what is happening in the Mediterranean region, other guest lecturers opened the conference: Barbara Wolf, Director of the department of the Broader Middle East and North Africa and Euromed Division, German Foreign Ministry, Hansjörg Lanz, Director of the department Middle East/North Africa, of the German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and H. E. Karl Xuereb, Ambassador of Malta to the Federal Republic of Germany.

During the week the participants also listened to lectures of Lt.-Col. Dr. Thorsten Weber of the Federal Ministry of Defense who talked about the German security and defense policy. Furthermore, the group from Malta visited the United Nations campus in Bonn and the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. One special event took place at the Deutsche Welle: in a joint event with the representation of the European Commission in Bonn (under the direction of Dr. Stephan Koppelberg), former EU Ambassador Christian D. Falkowski who had worked, inter alia, at the EU representations in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen, hold a lecture on “Europe: an ever-closer Union in view of growing global challenges?”. Another interesting topic was introduced by Valentin Hollain, researcher at EUROSOLAR, a non-profit-organization sitting in Bonn: Hollain talked about the energy change in Germany and its implications for other regions in the world.

ZEI Director Prof. Dr. Ludger Kühnhardt and MEDAC Director Prof. Dr. Stephen Calleya expressed their gratitude to the German Academic Exchange Program (DAAD) to have made the academic exchange possible in the context of the DAAD sponsored German Chair in “Peace and Conflict Prevention” held at MEDAC by Dr. Monika Wohlfeld.

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