In this volume our attention has shifted between the ‘European gaze’ in the production of knowledge on the MENA and the ways in which European reality is constructed in the MENA. We did this with a core focus on knowledge production in higher educational and similar establishments, including think tanks. What has been important here is the necessity to move beyond binarisms in the ways in which Europe is represented through a MENA lens and the MENA through a European lens. This led us to pertinent issues relating to educators’ positionality, their inherent biases and their own notions of truth. The collection therefore shows that the manner in which knowledge is produced tells us a lot about the way in which specific messages about the ‘Other’ are conveyed in an educational context. Moreover, it reveals how – in all its attempts to bring the MENA under its control – Europe itself is immersed in the MENA’s world. Researchers and educators working on and in Europe and the MENA have a responsibility to help improve mutual destructive perceptions in the sense of differentiating facts and truths from falsehoods and misrepresentations. We hope this volume goes some way to assist in such endeavours.
In parallel with the increasingly complex, multidimensional and multilayered features of International Relations (IR), the importance of IR departments and their curricula has also gained importance worldwide. In this regard, Turkey has not been free of these developments, in particular due to its geopolitical location at the intersection of Europe and the Middle East. The end of the Cold War precipitated various chain reactions in Turkey’s immediate neighbourhood. In this context, the country has begun to adopt new activism in the Middle East and intensified its EU accession process. Hence, it has become imperative for Turkish higher education to increase the diversification of courses on regional studies in IR departments, in such a fashion as to reveal the changing nature of IR and Turkey’s new engagements. Against this background this chapter explores the curricular practices of teaching courses on Europe and the Middle East based on a research sample obtained from the IR departments of the top fifty universities in Turkey. By analysing the syllabi of European and Middle East courses, it addresses the question of how Turkish ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘liminality’, features that characterise Turkish foreign policy, are reflected in the teaching in IR departments.
With the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994 following the Oslo Accords, support for the peace process with Israel, within the framework of the two-state solution, became the ‘new normal’. This ‘new normal’ was supposed to be reflected also in education. Donor countries, among them very prominently European actors, openly connected their support for Palestine’s education system with such an expectation. The Oslo Accords have put in motion a process of institutionalisation (that is, governmentalisation) of higher education programmes in Palestine. So far, such a process has not fully undermined the independence of universities in determining their programmes and curricula. Palestinian universities therefore continue to provide a different narrative, often critical of the status quo resulting from the Oslo Accords and its presupposed paradigm, the two-state solution. Within this context, this chapter assesses the manner in which Europe is taught at Palestinian universities. It conducts such an analysis within the larger context of how Palestinian higher education developed, and how Palestinian universities adapted to this ‘new normal’. The chapter thus uses the study object ‘Europe’ as a case study to problematise overall implications for present and future higher education programmes in Palestine.
Teaching the Middle East in Europe cannot ignore its politicised nature: where we typically acknowledge the power–knowledge nexus in research, all too often similar dynamics in teaching are left unexplored. In this chapter I give a personal account of how my teaching ‘the Middle East’ in Europe has developed in a direct and inevitable interaction with the political context: local events have shaped the Dutch political – and by extension academic –context so much that they influence almost every aspect of ‘doing the Middle East’ in the Netherlands today. On the one hand, I show how, in this politicised context, public naming and shaming of perceived ‘left’ or ‘anti-Semitic’ university professors, as well as fierce accusations of bias, via lawfare or otherwise, can lead to self-censorship and a sense of isolation in teaching, especially for early career scholars. On the other hand, I show how students in a classroom environment have changed as well and argue that, in our teaching, we need to apply that critical, ethical and ongoing reflexivity that we normally reserve for our research activities and create the in-depth learning experience that does not deny but embraces the political contestation that is academic knowledge and the transfer thereof.
In Middle East Studies, methodological and substantive questions as well as definitions are predominantly discussed and fixed by men. While analysing the manner in which the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is taught at universities in Europe it is worth considering the situation from the perspective of gender as a cross-cutting issue. While ‘how and by which methodological tools’ the MENA is taught in European universities is an essential question, it is also important to focus on ‘who teaches’ in order to understand whether gender has a particular impact or not on teaching and researching the MENA. Based on semi-structured in-depth interviews with female academics from European universities and research centres, this chapter analyses the manner of teaching (definitions, academic materials and methodological tools), fieldwork experiences and specific precarities of female academics working in the field of Middle East Studies.
The conclusion discusses how the framework developed in the book can have broader application for the study of environmental and animal rights organizations, specifically the exploration of organizational evolution and appeal to target audiences. It emphasizes that the book provides insights into the role and appeal of the WWF in Arctic diplomacy and northern environmental issues, and highlights the input of Arctic state representatives and Arctic Indigenous peoples’ representatives as providing triangulating reflections on WWF’s work. However, the conclusion also notes the long-term implications of anti-sealing and anti-whaling campaigning on receptiveness of environmental and animal rights activists in the North and the Arctic, as well as the need for expanded research in the future on in-depth Arctic state specific experiences with IENGOs and more detailed investigation into Indigenous perspectives of WWF, and IENGOs in general.
Chapter 5 delves into the benefits and drawbacks of WWF’s communication style and how that communication style has helped to characterize external expectations of the organization and how it is able to engage on certain topics with different actors. The chapter emphasizes the role of audiences and perceptions of transparency and legitimacy play in all NGO work and how WWF’s communication style is a reflection of its effort to navigate its internal preferences and agendas with external actors’ and audiences’ receptiveness, wants and needs in national, regional and international governance debates and discussions. The chapter points out the potential implications if WWF altered its communication style and some alternative perspectives on its effectiveness.
WWF is one of the most recognizable international environmental non-governmental organizations (IENGOs) in the world. The Arctic has become one of the organization’s key focus areas in the twenty-first century, but what the general public is less aware of is the fact that WWF has been involved in its northern work for decades. The introduction outlines the book’s rationale and approach for investigating the work of WWF in the Arctic and the North and how it has built its role in regional discussions and decision-making in order to engage different local, national, regional and international audiences.
Chapter 4 examines the role of WWF’s approach toward scientific engagement. This chapter unpacks the WWF’s promotion of itself as an organization leading with science in all its work. It discusses the role that scientific research plays in WWF’s credibility and how WWF plans its work and frames its contribution to addressing northern issues. The chapter focuses on the repeated claim that WWF’s work is driven by scientific research and how belief in the scientific underpinnings of WWF’s work influences and frames WWF’s lobbying and advocacy efforts, as well as the types of professions that the organization is able to recruit to represent it in its Arctic programme and national offices, as well as in forums like the Arctic Council.
Chapter 2 explores the WWF legacy. It focuses on the work that the national organizations and WWF Arctic have done to distinguish themselves from the negative legacy of IENGOs in the Circumpolar North, and the Arctic in particular. This chapter discusses the broader legacies of the anti-sealing and anti-whaling movements and WWF’s effort to navigate local perceptions of IENGOs which resulted from the cultural and economic fallout from these movements. The chapter also examines the challenges faced by large international NGOs trying to navigate internal divergences in opinions and interests amongst its various branches. The chapter emphasizes how the work of one national branch can impact the work of another, even when the two sub-organizations are largely disconnected from one another.