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TRENDS and University of Ottawa Co-Host International Conference in Canada on Middle East Geopolitical Challenges

19 May 2024

TRENDS and University of Ottawa Co-Host International Conference in Canada on Middle East Geopolitical Challenges

19 May 2024


Participants at the international conference titled «The Contemporary Arab World: Dynamics, Key Players, and Geopolitical Challenges», organized by TRENDS Research & Advisory in collaboration with the University of Ottawa on its campus in Canada, highlighted profound shifts in the structure of international relations in the Middle East.


These transformations, intensified after the 2011 events, the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, signify broader global geostrategic changes. Noteworthy among these shifts is the migration of conflict-ridden geopolitical dynamics to new regions worldwide, coinciding with the erosion of the Western governance model.


The conference, coinciding with the 91st Congress of the Association Francophone Pour Le Savoir (91st Congress of the French-Speaking Association for Knowledge), stood as a pivotal component of TRENDS’ expansive global research and knowledge expedition in Canada. Drawing together a diverse array of experts, academics, researchers, and specialists, the conference fostered robust discussions.


Leading these discussions was Professor Patrice Brodeur, Assistant Professor at the University of Montreal, Canada, while Professor Dominique Avon from the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes – Paris, set the stage by underscoring the imperative of interdisciplinary approaches in tackling significant research themes pertaining to the multifaceted aspects of the Arabic world.


Dr. Wael Saleh, an expert in the Political Islam Department at TRENDS, emphasized that the Middle East’s international relations are undergoing profound transformations. He highlighted the influence of global geostrategic shifts, notably the migration of conflict-ridden geopolitical dynamics to new regions and the collapse of the Western governance model.


Hamad Al Hosani, a researcher in the same department, underscored the strategic significance of the Middle East in the international relations system. He noted the region’s evolving geopolitical landscape and the shift of influence away from central states to various actors within the Arab world.


Dr. Farid Belkacem, from the University of Tunis Al-Manar, discussed the post-Arab Spring era, particularly focusing on political Islam in Tunisia. He noted a decline in its political and social influence since July 25, 2021, cautioning against interpreting this decline as its definitive end.

Saqr Al-Sharif, researcher and director of the Training and Development Department at TRENDS, highlighted the Middle East’s pivotal role in contemporary international politics. He identified the emergence of conflicting geopolitical axes among regional powers as a significant trend.


Dr. Zeinab Toujani, from Manouba University – Tunisia, addressed the decline of the Ennahdha Party in Tunisia, emphasizing that while the party suffered substantial losses in 2024, this setback doesn’t signify the demise of political Islam in the country.

Dr. Amal Haroun, from the Canadian University of Montreal, discussed the ideological shifts among Egyptian university graduates post-2011. She noted a trend towards embracing concepts of equality and rejecting violence, indicative of a departure from previous Islamist ideologies.


Abdulaziz Al Shehhi, a principal researcher at TRENDS, warned of the dangers of extremism in the Arab world, stressing the need for collective efforts from both Arab countries and the international community to combat it through political resolution, religious dialogue, and enhanced cooperation.

Montaser Hamadeh, from the Council of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad (CCME), highlighted significant social and political developments in Arab societies post-2011, including the rise of conservative nationalist movements and the separation of religion from religiosity.

Dr. Tewfik Aclimandos, an expert at the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies, discussed the challenges facing Egyptian foreign policy. He emphasized Egypt’s strength amidst limited resources and its navigation of an unstable regional system, advocating for a cautious approach to minimize risks.


Collaborative Knowledge Research

TRENDS’ researchers, as part of their ongoing global research and knowledge expedition in Canada,, delved into in-depth discussions on scientific and knowledge cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Both parties emphasized the pivotal role of research institutions and proactive think tanks in analyzing and addressing contemporary global challenges, expressing eagerness for future collaborations.


Furthermore, TRENDS researchers actively pursued avenues for cooperation and partnership with various research institutions and think tanks in Montreal, Canada. These fruitful discussions included engagements with the Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV), the International Studies and Research Center, the Institute of Religious Studies (IER) at the University of Montreal, and the Department of Political Science at the University of Quebec in Montreal.