CEMMIS is a research group in the framework of the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the University of Peloponnese.
after 10 years
A trip from Greece to the Middle East seems always short and safe. However, Greek policy and decision making community has yet to undertake a genuine exploration mission concerning the Middle East. Geographical and cultural proximity substitutes for the lack of serious analysis of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean affairs and for the absence of academic and scientific discourse on modern Islam and Euro-Middle East relations. There have been some attempts to initiate the study of these issues albeit sporadic and unsystematic, due mainly to the unwillingness of both the public and the private sector to support them.
Since 2000 a group of young scholars, researchers, postgraduate and graduate students embarked on an ambitious plan to initiate an academic dialogue on the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Understanding the crucial needs of both the Greek state and society facing the Middle East and the broader region of the Mediterranean, we established the Centre for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Studies in the framework of the Institute of International Relations of Panteion University Athens. Since 2008, the same research and analysis team transformed itself into a Centre for Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (CEMMIS), broadening its interests to include Muslim societies and communities in South Asia, Africa and Europe and working in the framework of the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the University of Peloponnese.
The CEMMIS research and analysis group is designed to form a Political Risk Evaluation Unit, which geographically covers the countries of North Africa, from Morocco and Mauritania to Egypt, the countries of the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition it covers the Horn of Africa from Sudan and Somalia to Ethiopia and Eritrea. There is special focus on general economic, cultural and political trends in the whole of the Muslim world, in societies of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
• The systematic documentation, study and analysis of the political, economic, social and cultural environment of the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the world of Islam.
• The building up and the promotion of a closer set of relations with the International Relations communities involving themselves in a multidimensional, multi-discipline study of the referred regions.
• The strengthening of relations among these regions through the promotion of common research programs.
• Policy recommendations on the development of various schemes of co-operation between the European Union and the referred regions.
• Consultancy for public and private organizations, whether in the form of "specialized" projects, or seminars for businesspeople who wish to expand their activities into the referred regions
• Utilisation of CEMMIS as a basis for e-learning and e-training programs on the referred regions and societies.
Since 2006 CEMMIS group has succeeded in attaining many of its initial aims:
• It has been publishing (in English) the e-journal Middle East Bulletin with timely and in-depth analysis of various themes. Middle East Bulletin is the only Greek publication on modern Middle East.
• Throughout these years more than sixty students and researchers were trained in the Centre and sometimes made their first acquaintance with the Middle East and Islamic Studies.
• Since 2006, the Centre has produced more than thirty reports and policy briefs on Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs.
• It has also been advising the Foreign Ministry on Middle Eastern policies and it has co-operated with the Greek government for organising the Middle East Regional Forum of Local and Regional Women Entrepreneurs in June 2008.
• Last but not least, the Centre is partner of significant networks such as Institut de Prospective Économique du monde Méditerranéen and the World Security Network.
• Building up of a website run by the CEMMIS team on the referred regions.
• Continuation of the publication of the e-journal Middle East Bulletin and transformation to a fully academic refereed Greek Journal on Western Asia and Islamic Societies.
• Institutionalisation of two scholarships for doctoral and post-doctoral research.
• Institutionalisation of the CEMMIS Annual Lecture on issues of the referred regions and societies.
• The setting up of a Western Asia and Islamic Affairs Strategic Monitor.