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About the project

The role of the Mediterranean Region as the cradle of civilization cannot be overestimated. Over the centuries, different cultures of the Mediterranean not only coexisted, but also had a great impact on each other, turning the region into a closed system characterized by a deep cultural diversity.

However, within the recent centuries the Eurocentric nature and various political circumstances have almost destroyed the perception of the region as an integrated unit. This project aims to fill in the gaps and present the unity of Mediterranean area as an autonomous cultural, political and economic actor of international affairs as well as to determine the role of the region in current political processes.

This research is based on the grant provided by the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs of National Research University Higher School of Economics.

Issues to discuss:

  • Terms “state”, “power”, “nation”, “community”, “ummah” in common and specific public perception of peoples in the region;
  • Connections of modern societies with ancient peoples, causal link between the formation of the Mediterranean area as the cradle of civilization and its specific role in modern world politics on the one hand and the state and social diversity on the other;
  • The role of religion in the formation of Mediterranean countries societies, the impact of Muslim and Christian communities on regional states, the Mediterranean area as a Melting Pot of civilizations, the civilization bridge between Islam and Christianity;
  • The role played by the Arabic language in the formation of a special cultural code of Mediterranean peoples as a lingua franca of the region and unifying factor throughout the history; multiculturalism as an attribute of the modern Mediterranean Basin: literature of the regional countries and its cross interference, universal linguistic trends; the media and social networks and their impact;

Studying political, economic, ethnic religious transformations, the starting point of which could be identified by the early 2010s, takes a special place in the framework of project activities. The particular attention is given to the current political and social processes in the countries of the region such as:

  • the origins of the Arab Spring and their impact on the social and political trends in the European countries;
  • the escalation of conflicts between regional actors;
  • political process in North Africa (Libyan File, transformations in Algeria etc.) as a destabilizing factor;
  • growing ambitions of second-tier players seeking to redistribute the balance of power in the Mediterranean Basin;
  • expanded China’s influence through the One Belt One Road Initiative to the political and economic redistribution of priorities of regional elites, mainly in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean areas;
  • growing interest of “major actors” in the Middle East for direct involvement in Mediterranean processes;
  • regional conflicts and their direct impact on political, economic, cultural and religious processes, dynamics of integration and disintegration in the Mediterranean Basin and formation of the unique space in the international relations system;
  • changes in the regional energy market;
  • impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the economy and social situation of the region.

Aims of the project

The project aims to identify the level of Mediterranean unity as a cultural, political and economic system and its defining factors; to study the co-influence of political process in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East as well as positions occupied by elites and power brokers from the Middle East and North Africa in the region's contemporary hierarchy.

Objectives of the study

  • Study political, economic, cultural processes of the Mediterranean area in historical perspective and identify the main patterns within each of them.
  • Define the importance of the Mediterranean Basin and its influence on the politics, economy, religious, cultural and ethnic processes of Middle Eastern and European states.
  • Determine and review regional problems and contradictions, the current correlations of political powers in the countries of the region.
  • Undertake analysis and comparative study of internal and external actors in the regional space. Conceptualize the term “control” with regard to the Mediterranean region.

Forms of implementation of the project

  • Open lectures, seminars, workshops on regular basis;
  • Distance work in Google Drive Apps;
  • Development of an open source electronic database


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