2015 - Portorož, Slovenia

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 IsraelThis is the first time that researchers from Iran and Iraq are systematically included in the dialogue with European counterpartsIn 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:

  • Support youth engagement in science through a Euro-Mediterranean competition for young scientists
  • Involvement of private sector in joint initiatives and programmes in the Euro-Mediterranean
  • Enhancing cooperation and exchange between scientists and politicians in the Euro-Mediterranean countries.
  • Initiative for a programme for “brain circulation” (rather than brain drain) in forms of research, academic and student exchange and fellowships in the region
  • Need to provide for continuing education of refugees and displaced people Call for support to social innovation initiatives through appropriate funding opportunities and new tailor-made programmes for concrete needs in Arab Med. countries
  • Joint initiatives in water, energy and South-South cooperation
  • Creation of a database of best practices and success stories in science-diplomacy

Download full conference reccommendations here

The Opening hosted high level speakers and over 150 guests

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.

Kick-off meeting of MERID project

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.

More information is available at http://www.emuni.si/en/annual-conference and http://www.emuni.si/en/research-mobility/merid