15th Annual International Conference on Mediterranean Studies 11-14 April 2022, Athens, Greece Program (Athens Local Time) (Note: each presentation includes at least 10 minutes for questions and discussions if available)
Monday 11 April 2022
10.00-10.30 Opening and Welcoming Remarks:
Gregory T. Papanikos, President, ATINER.
Steven Oberhelman, Vice President of International Programs, ATINER, Interim Dean & Professor of Classics, Holder of the George Sumey Jr Endowed Professorship of Liberal Arts, and Texas A&M University, USA. (Video)
10:30-11:00 Stephen Bay, Associate Professor, Brigham Young University, USA. Title: The Treatment of Witches in Septuagint-Dependent Cultures.
My paper provides at least one piece of evidence as to why there were almost no hunts, trials, or executions of witches in countries where the Greek Orthodox Church held sway in the early modern period as opposed to over 100,000 executions in Western Europe and colonial America during the same period. My argument is that the (perhaps incorrect) translation of Exodus 22:18 as reflected in the Septuagint, “φαρμάκουςοὐπεριποιήσετε” (Don’t procure/keep magicians/poisoners) is much milder than the translations utilized in Western Europe from the Vulgate’s “maleficos non patieris vivere” (Thou shalt not permit magicians/evil-doers to live), to the KJV’s “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” to Luther’s “Die Zauberinnen sollst du nicht am Leben lassen” (You should not let the enchantresses live). The fact that the German version is the only gender-specific translation is also interesting and perhaps reflects the Germanic focus on executing women almost exclusively.
Barbara Polo-Martin, Lecturer, University of Barcelona, Spain. Title: The Michelin Guide: A Geographical Perspective of the Famous Red Guide through Time.
In 1889, the brothers André and Edouard Michelin founded the famous company that has their name, encouraged by a positive outlook from the French car industry. To support the development of this industry and, at the same time, the development of the Michelin group, they decided to provide motor bikers with a small guide to facilitate the journey. André had worked in the cartography department of the Ministry of the Interior, from where he had reached the conclusion of the importance of this type of maps, with complementary information. Thus arose the famous MICHELIN Guide, which from 1920 would be paid. The 1923 guide featured the rubric “Recommended hotels and restaurants”, title that gave it the surname of Red Guide. Aware of the growing interest in the guide’s restaurant section, the Michelin brothers recruited a team of mysterious diners, known today as ‘inspectors’. Currently, the Michelin Guide has become a world reference in the field of gastronomy, thanks to its constant commitment to readers and its rigorous selection process, which is applied throughout the world independently. However, the most famous gastronomic guide does not offer the reader only that, but allows to analyze its evolution from different perspectives. This book allows us to analyze the artistic evolution that it has had since its birth, among which aspects include the cartography of the places that appeared on it, the decoration that varied according to the countries as well as the content included about different regions. With this article we pretend to analyze how the evolution of this type of guides and European cartography has been through history, how the vision of geography in different countries has changed, as well as its tourism promotion. Beside, out final goal is to offer a historical and geographical perspective about this famous work in Europe, something that only has been applied to France.
11:30-12:00 Mariana Sampayo, Professor, Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, Portugal. Silvia Mendes, Professor, Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, Portugal. Title: Algeria, Morocco, Portugal and UE International Problems and Trade.
It is intended to analyze the economic situation of each State and of the EU, in particular with regard to trade relations between the northern Mediterranean (Iberian Peninsula) and the southern Mediterranean (the two countries that have the greatest relations with Portugal). The current situation between Algeria and Morocco is expected to be just an interregnum in the relations between the two countries. In fact, although the difficulties that have been felt in Western Sahara for a long time, the North has not had any special problems. It should be remember that in the north, between Algeria and Morocco, there is a gas pipeline that serves the Iberian Peninsula, so any problem could have repercussions on the supply of gas to the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal in particular. The question of Western Sahara has been a permanent problem between Algeria and Morocco. Older Spanish possession since 1975, Western Sahara, has become a permanent issue regarding the sovereignty of the territory or its submission to Morocco. Hence, given the region’s wealth in ore products (nitrates), Algeria’s interest in having control over this area and, in particular, access to the Atlantic Ocean by land. The issue has been the subject of an intervention by the United Nations, renewed every six months, and designated by Minurso, with the objective of a referendum for independence, with results that have proved to be very low. Relations with the European Union, Algeria and Morocco are framed in the Euro-Mediterranean policy (of the European Union), this will imply an analysis of the evolution of the frameworks of these relations. The pipeline to the Iberian Peninsula starting in Algeria should continue to Central Europe, we should analyze the current situation, as well as investigate whether the pipeline between Algeria and Italy has already left the project. This last project presents itself as an alternative to the Iberian gas pipeline, allowing Europe to be less dependent on existing or non-existent relations between Algeria and Morocco. With regard to borders, it should be noted that there is no southern border between Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria, so the Atlantic issue is raised with some acuity.
12:00-12:30 Alfred Tovias, Professor, Hebrew University, Israel. Title: Eu’s Foreign Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Reevaluation.
This paper will look into the existing evidence sustaining its thesis whereby there is an on-going discrete shift in the EU’s foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is based on the recognition that achieving peace will take much more time than it was thought a decade ago. A silent convergence of the EU’s position on the Israeli one is now slowly emerging. After a thorough review of Israel-EU bilateral, mainly economic, relations, we look at the EU’s policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict until 2020. I then look at 6 possible explanations for the lasting freeze in relations imposed by the EU on Israel since a decade, illustrated by the fact that no Association Council has taken place since July 2012. I then assess what is the relevant weight of these different explanations. The next question addressed is whether or not the EU policies have served their purpose or they have backfired. Then I adopt a long term IR and IPE perspective to analyze changes that have taken place in the EU and in Israel in the last two decades. The analysis shows that the EU, a supranational soft power, has had to revise its policies gradually to adjust to the new realities albeit with reluctance.
12:30-13:00 Heba Mahran, Professor, Minia University, Egypt. Title: Acts of Official Grief on the Berlin Museum “Trauerrelief” (AMP 12411).
Greif is a human feeling that accompany sad events or the loss of deer ones. Acts of grief were represented in ancient Egyptian funerals for both males and females. The study is analyzing a scene of a funeral of t he High Priest of Ptah , Ptahemhat Ty . On a relief that originated from Saqqara and is now a famous piece in B e r lin Museum (AMP 12411). Greif on this relief came in two levels; the family level and the official level. The attendants vary between family members, professional mourners, official representatives in case of high officials ’ funerals and priests whom their job was involved in mummification and recitation of prayers. T he contrast between them is obvious; while relatives and professional mourners raising their hands on their heads in a shock or leaning on the ground mourning the deceased Hormoheb who attended the funeral perhaps as a representative of the king as in modern funerals is putting his hand under his chin discreetly. T he study through examining similar scenes will try to compare between different gestures of official and none official grief relating to the Trauerreleif. T he prevalence of such an offi cial act will be traced to discern a protocol that may has be en known in ancient Egypt for one of the most important events in ancient Egyptian life which is death.
13:00-13:30 Hannah Grace Howard, PhD Candidate, Boston University, USA. Title: From Culture to Politics: Reviewing the Question of Mediterranean Unity within Anthropology.
This paper addresses the history, structure, and utility of “the Mediterranean” as a conceptual category within anthropology. Since at the least the 1950s, the supposed unity of the region and the theory it has inspired has moved through several iterations – from beliefs in a unified culture area to the disavowal of regional stereotypes and reductive analysis to the resurgence of arguing for cultural and political affinities on the basis of recent geopolitical transformations and the resurgence of area studies. This paper offers a review of this evolving significance of the Mediterranean within the discipline of anthropology by tracing its earlier instantiations as a culture area binding the northern and southern shores through the twin phenomena of honor and shame through its more contemporary usage denoting its political role in transnational migration management and an emerging anthropology of bordering and belonging. Ultimately, I contend that the resurgence of the category of the Mediterranean in anthropological scholarship reflects active engagement with enduring European hierarchies and I call for a more nuanced consideration of regional affinity, if not unity, as a recognition of such political claims.
Defne Gönenç, Researcher, Yaşar University, Turkey. Title: Turkey’s Climate Politics: Before and After the Paris Climate Agreement.
Global climate circumstances are dire. To be able to stay below 2°C degree target, according to the MMC Carbon Clock, we have only left 25 years. Due to its location in the Mediterranean, Turkey is quite vulnerable to harmful impacts of climate change. This is also illustrated by the widespread forest fires during the summer 2021. Nevertheless, in terms of its climate policies, Turkey has maintained a peculiar position for decades. Climate policymaking and action in the country is a history of hesitancy and latency. It became party to the UNFCCC in 2004, ten years after its entry into force, and to the Paris Agreement in 2021, five years after its entry into force. Until Paris Agreement, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regime, Turkey was an Annex I country without any mitigation commitments within the Kyoto Protocol. Because it is a developing country despite its membership at OECD, after its name was removed from Annex II in 2001, Turkey demanded its “special circumstances” to be recognized within the global climate negotiations. Nevertheless, due to its bottom-up design at a country level though non-binding Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submissions, Paris Agreement renders the “special circumstances” demands of Turkey. In 2021, after almost six years of signing it, Turkey ratified the Paris Agreement. Immediately after the announcement, a new goal of “net zero emissions” by 2053 was announced by the government. Nevertheless, climate policies within the country remains far from being effective. Coal subsidies continue, country’s fossil fuel dependency endures, there is no announced policy to close the coal-fired power plants, official definition of renewable energy remains problematic by hydro power plants with strong environmental opposition constituting the largest share, there is not enough emphasis of climate as a justice problem in the municipalities’ action plans, and climate policymaking remains highly non-participatory. Therefore, studying Turkey case in terms of its international climate commitments as well as internal dynamics, offers critical insights for global climate politics. The purpose of this article is to examine Turkey’s international climate politics from a historical perspective and to critically analyze its current internal situation regarding climate action.
Gloria Marchetti, Professor, University of Milan, Italy. Title: The Right to Disconnect of Remote Workers Introduced by Some Countries and at European Union Level.
The speech analyzes: the development of new work organization models and the role of new digital technologies; the problems of the workers linked to remote working and the increasing of digitization; the regulation of the right to disconnect of remote workers introduced by some Countries and the recent Resolution of the European Parliament on the matter. The issues are topical for various reasons which are illustrated below. In the last few years, the development of new work organization models and the role of new digital technologies have gradually blurred the distinction between work and private life. Many people can work away from the office, often in their own homes. Furthermore, digital tools have increased the employees’ tendency to use technological devices to stay “connected” to their job outside ordinary working hours. So, a constantly on-call culture has developed, since the workers are easily reachable anytime and anywhere. In this context, some Countries – such as Italy, Spain, France and Ireland – have provided for a regulation that recognized the right to disconnect, giving workers the possibility to interrupt their jobs outside working hours without penalties. In the speech it is underlined, in particular, that these issues have become more important with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has exacerbated the problems associated with working from home: constant connectivity (that can lead to physical and psychological health problems) blurred of the distinction between work and private life. Research by Eurofound shows that, since the beginning of the pandemic, working from home has increased by almost 30% in Europe, blurred the line between professional and personal time. Indeed, almost 30% of those working from home argue working in their free time every day or several times a week. This situation makes the need for an enforceable right to disconnect more urgent. Furthermore, it is foreseeable that, after the pandemic, there will be an increase in the number of workers from home, worsening their work-life balance. Also for these reasons, on 21 January 2021 the European Parliament adopted a Resolution inviting the European Commission to suggest a Directive guaranteeing workers the right to disconnect from the information technology tools used for work, without facing consequences. The Parliament attached to the Resolution specific recommendations outlining the Directive’s content. The Directive should establish minimum requirements for remote working and clarify working conditions, working hours and rest periods. Therefore, the European Parliament wants to protect employees’ fundamental right to disconnect from work and not to be reachable outside working hours and called for an EU action to make that right a reality for working people. Indeed, the Resolution considers the right to disconnect as “a fundamental right which is an inseparable part of the new working patterns in the new digital era” and “an important social policy instrument at Union level to ensure protection of the rights of all workers”. In light of these considerations, therefore the speech evaluates the innovative scope of the resolution of the European Parliament which, as we have seen, recognizes the right to disconnect as a fundamental right that must be guaranteed to all workers in order to ensure a healthy work-life balance and to protect workers from the invasion of their rest time.
15:30-16:00 Gregory T. Papanikos, President, ATINER. Title: The War in Ukraine and the MENA Countries.
On the 24 February 2022, Russia-Belarus invaded Ukraine, sending a shockwave all around the world. The countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) found themselves unprepared to deal with this new development. For some of them, Russia supports their own political cause making it difficult to make an open condemnation of the invasion. In addition, many MENA countries depend on Russia and Ukraine for their food supplies, i.e., wheat. However, the majority of countries from the Middle East used the occasion of the 11th United Nations (UN) Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to denounce the invasion. This paper looks at the MENA countries’ stance in the UN and role in the Russian-Belarus invasion of Ukraine. A general conclusion which emerges from this discussion is that the MENA’s political stance very much depend on their own analogous historical experiences with wars and invasions. However, most importantly, their stance depends on their current alliance with Russia and/or their current relations with the USA. The latter is the most important determinant of their role in the conflict.
Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, Belarus MENA, Syria, Turkey, Israel, war, energy, food, wheat, international relations
16:00-16:30 David Philip Wick, Director, Arts, Humanities and Education Division, ATINER & Retired Professor of History, Gordon College, USA. Title: The Lyceum in Twilight: Athens’ “Second School” and its Struggle to Re-Invent Itself and Survive in the Last Years of the Roman Republic..
After the Athenian crisis of the early 80’s, which saw the ancient city held hostage between an Anatolian military expedition (whose leader at least claimed some intellectual credentials from Athenian schools including the Lyceum) and a renegade Roman with only the most cynical interest in heritage or culture, the schools of Athens – in particular the “peripatetic” school which dated back to Aristotle – faced challenges of identity, recruiting students, and in holding its own, perhaps too ‘peripatetic,’ faculty. In early post-classical and Hellenistic times the second and third generation Lyceum had been successful, even when it had lost intellectual ‘stars’ like Theophrastus, and (worse) its original library, to rivals like Pergamum – but as the other schools attracted career-minded students from the west, Aristotle’s foundation of a broad-minded liberal arts approach to learning in the Lyceum grove was in danger. The Lyceum seems actually to have failed for a time, or at least to have limped through the middle first century with faculty borrowed from the Akademe, in spite of a reputation for teaching practical politics which neither the Epicureans nor the Stoics could substitute for very well. Experts of the Aristotelian sort found either too-attractive employment in an Italy closer to the centers of power, or too strong a lure toward traveling consulting positions with neophyte Romans trying to learn the eastern Mediterranean ‘on their jobs.’ At its Athenian home, it moved a significant part of its teaching into the city and melded it into the ephebeia or ‘civic school’ for young Athenian citizens (but in the new Athens, those included a more and more multi-cultural mix of foreign youth as the Republic’s business class and students arrived in town). And then, it also attracted those in retirement from the turmoil of the disintegrating Republic, who valued the Lyceum more as a refuge than as a provider of power-skills for ‘players,’ the sort of thing the Akademe or the Epicurean ‘Garden’ did. The solution itself endangered Aristotle’s idea for the school. As the Republic died, the ‘Peripatetic’ school’s greatest teachers were more often on the road with its ‘players’ than home. What it kept at its home, though, it re-invested in the educational life of its own city. The Lyceum, like the Stoa, found its new Athenian home ‘downtown’ in more ways than one, and faced challenges quite familiar both in modern ‘peripatetic’ and in ‘career-direct’ higher education.
20:00-22:00 Greek Night (The event did not take place due to the limited number of attendance)
Tuesday 12 April 2022
08:00-10:00 Urban Walk
Marilia FutrePinheiro, Professor, University of Lisbon, Portugal. Title: Culture and Globalization.
Abstract In today’s society, dominated by the globalization of communications, massification of information and the mediatization of culture, there will be, still, place for a humanistic culture? The universal dimension of culture has been restricted, over the centuries, due to diverse factors: ideological, political, social and religious. Nowadays, we may ask what is meant by “democratization” of culture or, cultures, once there are a plurality of domains that are covered by this designation. This paper highlights some issues related to the development of the concept de culture, since Antiquity, through the ideals of Enlightenment humanism, up to the so called “digital revolution”.
Nellie Munin, Associate Professor, Zefat Academic College, Israel. Title: A New Horizon? Assessing the Abraham Accords’ Economic and Political Effect on Israel 18 Months After Their Conclusion.
In 2020 Israel concluded 4 agreements, known as the “Abraham Accords”, with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Morocco and Sudan. These agreements, sponsored by the United States, change the political and economic reality in the Eastern Mediterranean region. From the political aspect, they offer an alternative to the old “peace for land” formula, which was perceived as the only formula to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict: a new formula, suggesting “peace for peace”. After more than a year, these agreements, particularly with the UAE and Morocco, already yield impressive cooperation in terms of trade, investments, tourism and more. In political terms, these agreements seem to contribute to a changing equilibrium of powers in the region, encouraging partners which in recent years kept a cold peace with Israel, such as Jordan, Egypt and to a certain extent Turkey, to enhance their economic and political cooperation with Israel, in order to enjoy the potential benefits of this new reality. Against this background, this presentation will explore whether the benefits of “Abraham Accords” may turn into a “honey trap” for Israel, leveraging the growing inter-dependence among the economies involved to affect Israel’s political position towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (an approach exercised by the European Union for many years).
11:30-12:00 Tetiana Reheshuk, PhD Student, Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University, Ukraine. Title: Ethnohistorical Memory of the Ukrainian Hunting Folktale.
The article reveals the remnants of lifestyle and worldview of primitive hunters who have left their mark in the plots of Ukrainian folk tales. Currently, this issue has not been studied, although its clarification opens up opportunities to consider the transformation and evolution of the fairy tale in its current genre settings. The author states that the main paleontological features of the hunters tales’ plots are hidden in the ways of hunting reflected in the period between the Mesolithic and Neolithic, as well as in the types of family relations inherent in these epochs. The role and place of a hunting tale are considered and the characteristic features of this genre are analyzed. It has been proven that despite the internationality and uniqueness of the plots, the hunting tale is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Ukrainian folklore. Hunting folktales are not plots related to hunting scenes. Their main criterion is the reflection of the hunting worldview. To this category refers the tales, the plot of which is based on the collision between the animals themselves or between human and animal. According to European traditions, the latter type of plot sometimes ends with a successful hunting scene. The study based on the analysis of more than one hundred transcribed oral Ukrainian folktales. The objective of our article is to identify and analyze the plots of Ukrainian hunting tales in comparison with European ones. The topic of folktales, namely the separation of hunters plots from them, has not yet become the subject of special scientific discourse, and therefore needs thorough research. In addition, the conclusions and generalizations will enrich the amount of information about the folktale. The vector set by us requires further comprehensive research and is important in terms of cultural experience of mankind.
12:00-12:30 Presentation cancelled due to the unavailability of the presenter
12:30-13:00 John Vella, PhD Graduate, University of Malta, Malta. Title: Greek Words in Maltese Harbour Toponymy.
The study presents place names and site names (toponyms) found in the Maltese islands and which comprise Greek words or have origins in the Greek language. With a focus on maritime connections, it presents historic events which would have brought harbour communities in close encounter with the Greek language and culture. Through a multidisciplinary approach the study analyses place names and site names found in historical documents, backed by archaeological evidence, oral tradition, cartography, and other knowledge. Findings show that in the Maltese islands, place names mirroring or containing Greek words occur at sea inlets and creeks which could have served as harbours; however, the occurrence of both place names and site names is higher in the south of Malta and around its ancient harbour, witnessing to higher contacts between the two cultures.
Jayoung Che, Visiting Professor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea. Title: A Review on the Constitutional Court’s Decision of the New Administrative Metropolis Act to Be Unconstitutional (2004 Heonma 554, 556. 2004. 10. 21) – ‘State-Preferred’ collectivism vs. ‘Individual-Preferred’ Human Dignity.
In the decision of the Constitutional Court (2004 Heonma 554, 556. 2004. 10. 21), the New Administrative Capital Act, an attempt to move the administrative capital from Seoul to Sejong. was ruled to be unconstitutional, when the Constitutional Court created for the first time the term, ‘customary constitution’, which had never been used before. This paper argues that the creation of the concept, customary constitution, by the Constitutional Court is due to undemocratic, bureaucratic mindset. It proves that the Constitutional Court, deviating from its original function of controlling norms based on the Constitution, actively infringed autonomy and formative activities of other governmental agency. on the one hand, and the freedom of individuals in the private realm, on the other, abnormally uniformed the realm of the customs which occur spontaneously to be diverse, autonomous and centrifugal. As the Constitutional Court infringing not only the legislation-formation power of lawmaker, but also the realm of private freedom, the issue is not limited only to the functional distribution of power between the Constitutional Court and the lawmakers. but extended to undemocratic relationship between the committed bureaucrats with a tendency to be sovereign over the people and the people as the original authority to delegate power. This bureaucratism again originates from ‘state-preferred’collectivism in the borrowed name of people, which follows the tradition of feudalism or autocratic dictatorship, rather than the‘individual-preferred’ as an entity of inviolable, fundamental authority of every power, as well as non-economic(spiritual) freedom that is especially preferred in USA, or human dignity that is preferentially treated in Germany.
14:30-15:00 Marija Gjurasic, Assistant Professor & Head, University of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Tea Durovic, Alumni, University of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Title: The Development of Sericulture in Eastern Adriatic at the Time of the Austrian Administration.
Even though silk production in Eastern Adriatic started long ago, we can trace its rise and the systemic planting of white mulberry trees to the time of the Austrian administration. A number of economic and legal measures, which stimulated the development of sericulture throughout the Monarchy, were passed to incentivize this particular branch of the economy, which fit quite well with the mercantilistic and cameralistic policy of the Court in Vienna. These measures included free saplings of the white mulberry (Morus alba), the leaves of which are used to feed the silkworm, printing of numerous manuals on how to cultivate silkworms, as well as booklets with precise instructions about when and how silkworms lay eggs, how to build and clean silkworm beds, what the temperature in rooms for raising silkworms should be and what the rooms should look like etc. Even schools had classes about raising silkworms and mulberry. First steps in the development of sericulture during the Austrian administration on the territory of Croatia were recorded in Rijeka (in 1750). It takes seven years for the mulberry tree to grow enough to support a silkworm. After that, the silk production could begin in earnest and by the end of the 18th century there were as many as seven silk reeling factories in Rijeka. The cultivation of the silkworm soon spread to Dalmatia, especially in the areas around Zadar and Boka Kotorska, and in the 1840s, the latter accounted for almost half of the silk cocoons produced in Dalmatia. Oracije Pinelli, a physician and an entrepreneur from Zadar, established the first mulberry farm, and by 1840, he had as much as 44,000 mulberry trees. Similar farms later appeared in other parts of the region, for example in Trogir, Sinj, Skradin, Neretva Valley and Dubrovnik. This paper, based on archival records and relevant literature, will aim to show the influence of authorities on the development of sericulture and silk production in Eastern Adriatic, especially in the area of Dubrovnik, at the time of the Austrian administration.
15:00-15:30 Amani Ismail, Mass Communications Programme Lead, University of Hertfordshire Hosted by Global Academic Foundation, Egypt. Title: Journalism in the Age of WikiLeaks: Contemporary Investigative Reporting in the Middle East.
The impact of WikiLeaks as a whistleblower on the global media landscape has been both vivid and consequential. When WikiLeaks began leaking a series of diplomatic cables, in November of 2010, that publicized secret communiqués between US officials and non-US officials around the globe, some praised it for facilitating government transparency. Yet, those leaks threatened each state’s ability to control information flows and narrative constructions about their policies (Handley & Ismail, 2013). In December 2017, a British information tribunal – which is roughly equivalent to a court – recognized WikiLeaks as a “media organization”, which arguably could have assisted in its founder’s (Julian Assange) defense against US extradition on grounds of press freedom (MacAskill, 2017). This recognition comes after a years-long, indeed ongoing, contention over the authenticity of the journalism practiced by Julian Assange and his creation WikiLeaks – with many supporting Assange’s journalist identity while others (especially powerful US political figures) dissociating the widely-respected concept of journalism from Assange and WikiLeaks. In June of 2019, the UK Home Secretary signed a US request to extradite Assange after which the case was transferred to the British courts to handle (Mackintosh & Cotovio, 2019). Regardless of the case’s eventual outcome, the role of WikiLeaks on communication and circulation of data has been vivid and consequential. But what has the impact of WikiLeaks and related controversies been on the practice of journalism in the Middle East, a region where freedom of the press and journalist welfare often face serious challenges? This exploratory study conducts semi-structured in-depth interviews with a number of investigative journalists in the Middle East. Some of the media organizations the journalists work for are based in the Middle East, whereas others are based elsewhere but have offices/correspondence bureaus in the region. The study seeks to enhance understanding of how this state-of-the-art whistleblower and its ripple effects have contributed to media practices – materially, ideologically, etc. – against the backdrop of a politically intense context where authoritarian regimes are paramount, inevitably influencing how journalists do their job.
15:30-16:00 Flavio Monti, Project manager, MedWet, the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative, France. Title: Use of Voluntary Environmental Contracts for Wetland Governance in the European Mediterranean Region.
Ramsar sites are internationally protected wetlands designated to maintain an international network for biodiversity conservation and sustain human life. There are often conflicting interests for site management that lead to decisions based on sectoral policies or local approaches that have poor outcomes in terms of effectiveness and trade-offs. The European Water Framework Directive requires European countries to foster an integrated approach for wetland management through collaborative governance processes. The environmental contract is a tool that has been developed and implemented to set the ground for voluntary-based commitments for the sustainable governance of water systems. The paper reports on the results of the first study investigating the implementation of voluntary environmental contracts at the Mediterranean European level. The results indicate that Ramsar sites in the region have made great progress with the development of management plans, yet many sites still lack governance schemes involving stakeholders. Voluntary environmental contracts have been widely used in Ramsar sites in France and Italy, but only a few other European countries have started implementing them, mainly thanks to the implementation of EU funded projects (i.e. WETNET). The authors have identified the need to further adapt the tool to local and national contexts, as well as the need for legislation, to promote upscaling at the regional scale. The Interreg Med Program TUNE UP project exploits the flexibility of the Environmental Contract experience for effective management of the Mediterranean MPAs activating the process on 10 pilot sites and working to embed the tool in regional/national policies through specific tools and activities. In fact, despite Marine Protected Areas are considered as a powerful tool for marine biodiversity conservation, shortcomings in their management persist, in particular due to a lack of ownership by the actors of the territories they’re located in. Regional and international agreements have strongly emphasized the participatory approaches as a way to improve local and regional governance, for better management of protected areas and natural resources.