On the 11th until the 13th of October 2016, two of IRIS’ researchers, Fatin Nadhirah and Iffah Fadhilah had the opportunity to attend the Middle East Congress on Politics and Society organized by Sakarya University in Sakarya, Turkey. Notable speakers include Rafik Abdessalem, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tunisia, Youssef Choueiri from Doha Institute, Dr Cuneyt Yenigun from sultan Qaboos University, Oman and many more.
Middle East is indeed a complex region, historically and culturally. During the conference, various issues were discussed that include the political transformation in the Middle East to the search for a common ground for conflict resolution in the region.
One of the most fascinating presentation was from Dr Cuneyt Yenigun from Sultan Qaboos University, Oman on Conflict Resolution for the Middle East. He explored different causes and reasons that instigated conflicts in the ME, which include scarce resources, different cultures, imbalanced economic distribution, political immaturity and many more. He further presented several hypotheses and models but the most relatable was his second hypothesis. despite the complex model presented, his message was clear – the instrumental role in resolving conflicts lie within the role of the clerics and scholars. This is relevant especially in the Middle East region where religion is at the core of socio-culture, at the heart of the region.
Consequently he proposed a four steps resolution:
4. Construction of a Middle East Union
This might seem to be too idealistic but Dr Yenigun was optimistic where he believes that a multipolar regional system based on neo-constructivist theory is possible. The three day conference was conducted in three languages of Arabic, Turkish and English. The discourses during the conference not only revolves around the problems within the Middle East but how history, culture and religion can be reviewed to pave a future for the region.