Aarhus Universitets segl

Economic Change and the Future of the Middle East

Conference at Aarhus University

Oplysninger om arrangementet


onsdag 27. september 2023, kl. 13:00 - fredag 29. september 2023, kl. 12:00


School of Communication and Culture

The study of Middle East economics is neglected, perhaps because the study of the Middle East region is based in the humanities (area studies and anthropology), where economics is little emphasized. This conference aims to challenge this neglect, and hopes to break new ground for future research initiatives.

Economic change in the Middle East is happening in different forms in different countries and areas. As has been the case for some time, the oil-producing countries around the Arab/Persian Gulf are publicly committed to changing their economies from being fully dependent on oil to a broader economic basis, including experiments with green economy and operating as new financial centres for the Asian, and global, world. There are reasons to believe that this transition may now be picking up speed. The global interest in a greener economy, more generally, affects many countries in the Middle East and is a research agenda that is currently under much needed development. Meanwhile other countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, are on the brink of collapse due to civil war, political stalemate, and economic decline. What are the prospects for economic transition and the future of the Middle East as a region seen from the perspectives of such different countries and experiences? This is an important question to ask, since although the Middle East region’s economic integration is low in comparison to the world’s more successful economic regions, there is still a meaningful degree of economic information, and existing political and cultural integration also has economic significance.

The conference therefore has three interrelated themes:

  1. a general assessment of economic developments in the region;
  2. discourses of ‘green’ transition; and
  3. economic collapse and the prospects of alternative futures.

Proposals of about 300 words addressing one of these themes should be submitted to thomas.fibiger@cas.au.dk by 15 May. For accepted proposals, travel expenses will be covered and accommodation provided.

The conference will mark the 70th anniversary of the engagement of Aarhus University with the Middle East (Peter Vilhelm Glob and T. Geoffrey Bibby’s archeological expedition to Bahrain) and the 60th anniversary of the establishment at Aarhus of the ancestor of today’s program in Arab and Islamic Studies, the Institute for Semitic Philology, in 1963.

Organized by Professor Mark Sedgwick and Associate Professor Thomas Fibiger, Arab and Islamic Studies Research Network (ICSRU), Aarhus University and supported by a grant from the Danish Institute in Damascus.