EMUNI Annual Conference took place on Thursday, 12th February, in Portorož, hosting over 160 high profile participants, including Rectors and Vice-Rectors of Universities, senior academics and officials as well as decision-makers from 35 countries and international organisations. Recommendations were presented in the evening.
Three panel discussions of the EMUNI conference “Science diplomacy: Re-thinking Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation” focused on the future of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the view of political instability and economic uncertainty in the region, Science Diplomacy as a tool for intercultural dialogue and effective partnership and the EU Horizon2020 project “Middle-East research and innovation dialogue”.
27 speakers from 17 countries and international organisations included a number of internationally renowned high-level scholars, senior officials, policy makers and experts on the topics of Euro-Mediterranean affairs and science diplomacy, among other also professors from Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Israel. This is the first time that researchers from Iran and Iraq are systematically included in the dialogue with European counterparts. In this view, the EMUNI conference represents a first step towards establishing links and contacts between researchers and research institutions of the European Union and the Middle East and serves as an important bridge for inter-cultural dialogue and inter-religious understanding.
The conference resulted in a number of recommendations, among others also:
On Wednesday evening, 11th February, six eminent speakers addressed the participants: Meira Hot, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Piran, Prof. Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, President of the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI),Karl Erjavec, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Omnia Taha, Director of Department for Europe and Euro-Arabian Cooperation at the League of Arab States, Dr. Elisabeth Lipiatou, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission and Prof. Ilan Chet, Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean underlined the importance of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, focusing on intercultural cooperation.
On Friday, 13th February, the kick-off took place for the MERID (Middle East Research and Innovation Dialogue) project, which EMUNI coordinates with 12 partners from Europe and the Middle East. This Horizon 2020 project focuses on intensifying and encouraging research and innovation cooperation between the EU and the Middle East region and represents the first attempt to systematise support to the policy dialogue and involvement of research communities of Iran and Iraq in the EU's Horizon 2020 programme.