The lecture marks the inauguration of the new Interdepartmental School in International Relations, which has grown out of the highly successful second level degree course in International Relations introduced by the Faculty of Languages (where forty languages are taught), and the vocation of Ca’ Foscari as an international university attentive to the profound developments taking place in today’s rapidly changing world. The speaker, Christopher Prentice CMG, took up his appointment as HM ambassador to Italy in January 2011. After reading Classics at the University of Oxford, he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1977 and has spent much of his career on Middle East affairs, including postings in Kuwait and later as Ambassador in Amman and Baghdad. He was also recently appointed UK Special Envoy for Libya in Benghazi.
The Gulf Research Center Foundation in cooperation with the Venice Foundation supports the Chair held by Prof. Matteo Legrenzi as Associate Professor for International Relations and Gulf Studies at the Università Ca’Foscari Venezia.
Al-Qaeda and its franchises along with other radical groups have always proven hyper active and successful in exploiting online media. In more than way their obsession with media in general and their masterfulness of means of new communications has offered a fascinating case of contrast for researchers - a marriage between the ‘old’ and the ‘modern’ which challenged conventional understanding and approach to Islamic fundamentalism. Either for disseminating messages, launching campaigns, posting speeches and declarations of leaders or for recruitment, these groups considered ‘online Jihad’ no less crucial than ‘offline Jihad’. Indeed, this journey and link between ‘online Jihad’ and ‘offline Jihad’ has been one of the most dangerous areas of this media.
What are the changing themes, preoccupations, technologies and outreach of such media? These questions and others have been at the heart of discussions of a workshop organised by GRCC, the Cambridge branch of GRC, on 2 April 2011 under the title: ‘Jihadi online media: Mapping, mobilisation and discourse’.
Dr. Christian Koch, Director of the GRC Foundation, participated in a workshop on “Iran-EU Relations in the aftermath of the Nuclear Deal” organized by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS, Brussels), the HH Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Program of Durham University, and the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (Washington, DC). The event brought together policy officials from the EU and specialists on the topic. Sessions focused on the status of political and economic reform in Iran, EU-Iran energy cooperation, the regional security environment, as well as EU and US strategies towards Iran. Dr. Koch spoke at length in the regional security session on perspectives from the GCC states and the implications for a possible regional security architecture.
he massive majority recorded by the pro-separation side in the recent referendum in Southern Sudan raises important questions about the future of all parts of Sudan. Will the outstanding issues between North and South be resolved peacefully in time for Southern Sudan to achieve independence as envisaged in July? Will the Southern Sudan constitute a coherent and sustainable political entity? How will the orientation/politics of the northern Sudanese state be affected? Are the two states likely to maintain peaceful
and cordial relations?
For a long period of time, Oman was unknown to many people and only a small number of Western travellers managed to explore the country and record their visit and observations. Today Oman is celebrating 40 years of change and development that has touched every part of life and not least the intellectual thought.
This event attempts to shed light on the unknown Oman and highlight some ideas about this enchanting country.
Dr. Christian Koch spoke on the “Gulf States and Syria” at the international conference “How to Save Lives: The Concept of the Responsibility to Protect between desire and reality” sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation and held in Berlin, Germany. The discussion took place within the panel on “5 Years of Civil war in Syria: Chances, Limits and Recommendations for a Political Solution” and featured, in addition to the perspective from the Arab Gulf States, those of Turkey and Germany. A discussion session followed the presentation under the participation of more than 50 participants.