Opening conference of the Jean Monnet project Knowledge Hub on the Euro-Mediterranean region (MED-HUB)

How to better teach Euro-Mediterranean issues?


For the citizens of the North and South Mediterranean alike, knowledge about the Euro-Mediterranean region is important not only as an intellectual duty, but also due to its obvious and increasing policy relevance. The establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) in 2008 as one of the priority projects of the Union for the Mediterranean was motivated by the idea of a more unified and integrated Euro-Mediterranean higher education and research area. Ten years into its existence, EMUNI recognises that to approach the challenges facing the Euro-Mediterranean region and the EU, the study of the Euro-Mediterranean region needs to improve. An important aspect of this is both to better integrate the Euro-Mediterranean issues and aspects into the curricula of existing study programmes and to get the students themselves to recognise and debate the relevance of the EU values in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Project objective

EMUNI’s aim is to build a Knowledge Hub on the Euro-Mediterranean region (MED-HUB). We seek to explain, discuss and develop the EU’s engagement in the Euro-Mediterranean region on the one hand and generate interest in the EU’s activities by students on the other hand. MED-HUB will reinforce the link between academia and policy-makers, North (EU and accession countries) and South Mediterranean (MENA region), and engage the youth-students in identifying and addressing most topical issues of societal and political relevance. The proposed project builds on the experience of EMUNI with projects and events, including its summer schools on Euro-Mediterranean Studies and annual conferences tackling contemporary regional challenges (entrepreneurship, brain drain/circulation etc.).

Event format and preliminary agenda

The one-day event is the first of seven events planned to achieve the described objective. It will be followed by five thematic workshops and a final conference, presenting the results.


9.00 – 9.30: Opening session and presentation of the project

9.30 – 10.45: The region in teaching

How are Euro-Mediterranean issues taught to university students today? Are there differences between the North and the South of the Mediterranean? Are there study programmes that could be considered Euro-Mediterranean by nature? How well are issues of regional importance integrated into other study programmes, modules and themes? What are such themes that attract attention and why? How appropriate are the existing teaching methods and approaches for the production of a regional identity?


  • Lenart Škof, Science and Research Centre Koper (Slovenia)


  • Ana Bojinović Fenko, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Nataša Urošević, University of Pula (Croatia)
  • Rasha ElKholy, Heliopolis University (Egypt)
  • Mauve Carbonell, Aix-Marseille University (France)
  • Lucija Čok, Science and Research Centre Koper (Slovenia)

10.45 – 11.15: Break

11.15 – 12.30: The region in research

How well do we understand the Euro-Mediterranean region, its functioning and needs? Does current research produce the type of knowledge that is needed for policy actions? Do the conclusions by researchers translate into policy actions? Which issues receive particular attention of researchers, and why? What are the problems and questions that receive too little attention? Does scholarly research foster a dialogue, does it contribute to building a cooperative, rather than conflicting attitude between different parts of the Mediterranean?


  • Jerneja Penca, Euro-Mediterranean University (Slovenia)


  • Tamara Elzein, National Council for Scientific Research-Lebanon (Lebanon)
  • Münevver Cebeci, Marmara University (Turkey)
  • Faris Kočan, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
  • Hani Sewilam, RWTH Aachen University (Germany) and American University in Cairo (Egypt)

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch break

13.30 – 14.45: Lessons for teaching and researching from good practices serving the regional integration

This panel will present some of the good practices demonstrating that research and/or teaching can help with the integration of the region. The purpose of this panel is to draw some conclusions from their success and seek their replication. The guiding questions are thus: How did these initiatives come about; how did they develop; what obstacles did they overcome in accomplishing their aim? What does the experience from the particular initiatives tell us about the way forward for teaching and researching of the Euro-Mediterranean issues? Based on the good practices, how can some of the questions from the previous panels be answered?


  • Mounir Ghribi, National Institute for Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (Italy)


  • Natalia Sanmartin Jaramillo, Center for Vocational Education and Training (Slovenia)
  • Nicola Lamaddalena, CIHEAM – Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (Italy)
  • Joseph Shevel, Galilee International Management Institute (Israel)
  • Branko Čermelj, National Institute of Biology (Slovenia)
  • Omar Amawi, Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area – PRIMA (Spain)

14.45 – 15.00: Break

15.00 – 16.00: Concluding session and next steps

Solution-oriented discussion between all the participants on how teaching, researching and academia-policy dialogue could be improved.


The opening conference will create an integrated community of the experts and academics in the field of Euro-Mediterranean studies. It aims to build basis for a long-term partnership between EMUNI and researchers with an established portfolio on the Euro-Med. Equally, it seeks to stimulate some promising researchers who have not worked on the Euro-Med so far to place more focus onto this region in their ongoing research, enlarging the cohort of people studying the region.

An important aspect of the conference is that it includes students/youth. They are not only be recipients of knowledge, but also active participants. They will be exposed to the debates, but will also present their concerns about the region, their motives for understanding and engaging with it and thereby justify the need for the integration of the Euro-Med issues into the curricula.

The conference participants will be representatives from both shores of the Mediterranean; policy-makers, officials, researchers (including think tanks), senior and junior academics and those employed in international organisations.

The conference will foster networking opportunities and exchange of experience and good practice between the participants.

Output of the event

The conference is expected to formulate and outline and scope of thematic workshops organized with the aim of initiating an approach towards Euro-Mediterranean studies. It will also result in a report about the directions of creating new curricula on Euro-Mediterranean studies.