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The MENA Region and the Global South: Exploring Connections, Alliances and Influences

6 hour course by Eduard Soler Lecha (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona-Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals)

  • Schedule: 2, 3 & 4 July (9:00-11:00h)
  • Venue: IBEI

The conflict in Gaza has sparked several global debates. For instance, societies and governments in the Global South have underscored perceived double standards and injustices within the purportedly rules-based international order. These ongoing discussions prompt a comprehensive examination of the interconnectedness between the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the broader Global South and its implications for the international system. This course takes students on a historical journey to unveil the MENA region's pivotal role in the decolonization process and the centre-periphery tensions that have shaped the existing international society. Exploring key aspects such as ideology, energy, and migrations, participants will analyse how these factors have influenced regional dynamics and global perceptions. Furthermore, the course scrutinises the MENA region's contribution to the institutionalisation of the Global South within an evolving international system characterised by fragmentation, contestation, and de-westernisation. This process will illustrate the region's agency in reshaping global power structures and norms. In its final phase, the course delves into the active involvement of major non-Western extra-regional powers, including China, India, Brazil, and South Africa, in contentious issues within the MENA region. From the Iran-Saudi rivalry to infrastructural developments, students will navigate through the complexities and divisions arising from these engagements. By critically analysing historical contexts, geopolitical factors, and socio-economic considerations, participants will develop a nuanced understanding of the intricate web of alliances, influences, and intersections shaping the MENA region's position within the broader context of the Global South.

Eduard Soler
Lecturer of International Relations at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Associate Senior Researcher at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs), and Affiliated Faculty member at IBEI.

Between 2016 and 2019, he was the scientific coordinator of MENARA, a European project on geopolitical shifts in the Middle East and North Africa. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Dr. Soler i Lecha is a political scientist and a part-time lecturer in International Relations at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals and at Ramon Llull-Blanquerna University. From 2013 to 2017 he lead the El Hiwar project on Euro-Arab diplomacy at the College of Europe (Bruges) and in 2010 he was seconded to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an advisor in the Direction General for the Mediterranean, the Maghreb and the Middle East. He has also advised in several occasions the Catalan government and the Barcelona local governments on Euro-Mediterranean affairs. His main areas of expertise are: Euro-Mediterranean relations, Turkey’s foreign and domestic politics, North African and Middle Eastern political dynamics, Spain's Mediterranean policy and security cooperation in the Mediterranean. He is a member of the Observatory of European Foreign Policy, FIMAM (the Spanish network of researchers working on Arab and Muslim studies), EuroMeSCo and the advisory boards of Mediterranean Politics and IEMed’s Mediterranean Yearbook.