On July 12, the GPSS Iran 2017 officially ended. The program brought together research talents and global minds from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines. Over the course of two weeks not only did our participants come together as a group for open discussion and idea exchange; our lecturers and guests did a fantastic job by adding to the mix. Having worked and taught at different institutions across the globe, our top-experts represented the diversity of perspectives within the field of International Relations and Global Politics. Outside classes, Tehran offered a bright background setting for discovering new places, study time and catching up with old friends.
Following up on the Center for Global Politics’ previous cooperation with School of International Relations, Prof. Dr. Klaus Segbers, Director of the CGP, met with alumni who had taken part in our GPSS Iran 2013 in Tehran and GPSS Iran-Berlin 2015 at Freie Universität Berlin.
Later that day, he was joined by Mandana Tisheyhar, Head of the International Office at Allameh Tabataba'i University, to talk about future projects.
Part of the GPSS Iran 2017 was dedicated to European perspectives on challenges lying ahead for Iran, the MENA region and the EU. With this multi-perspective approach to understanding regions in crisis, participants were challenged to think critically, both on a regional and a global scale. At the same time, as students were required to submit a final paper on one of the topics covered by the academic curriculum, this offered a wide array of choices for finding a fresh take on old concepts.
Module III, taught by Dr. Cornelius Adebahr, provided a European as well as U.S. American perspective on Iran and the MENA region in the context after the Vienna Agreement. Dr. Cornelius Adebahris a non-resident fellow at Carnegie Europe with expertise on European foreign policy. He is also an associate fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow at the Hertie School of Governance, both in Berlin. He encouraged participants to look at the European approach to both, the 2015 Vienna Agreement and regional dynamics from different angles. In this way, Module III complemented the Iranian perspective on this issue offered by Module II.
Similarly, Module V on the Arab Spring picked up where Module VI left off. Azadeh Zamirirad helped the students to better understand the causes and the drivers of the so called Arab Spring. In particular, she tackled the question of how the EU responded to the uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa at the end of 2010 and which policy instruments were used subsequently. Azadeh Zamiriradis a Senior Associate at the foreign policy think tank SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) in Berlin where she is a researcher in the Middle East and Africa Division. As SWP’s Iran specialist, she advises decision-makers in Berlin and Brussels, including the German government, the Bundestag as well as the European Parliament and Commission.
Against the backdrop of these specific insights into the MENA region, Module VI and Module VII shifted the focus to continental Europe. Dr. Christine Horz taught Module VI on media, religion and migration in Germany. Dr. Christine Horz is visiting professor at the Institute for Politics and Communication Studies (IPK) at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, Greifswald in Germany. Since 2015 she is also senior lecturer and researcher at the Institute for Media Studies (IfM), Ruhr-Uni- versity Bochum and project leader of the Campus Television station.
Module VII, taught by Dr. Raphael Bossong, explored the different kinds of European governance and how these relate to the so called ‚refugee crisis‘. One of the key issues in this module was for students to discuss whether the EU should be more than a ‚second-order‘ coordinator. Dr. Raphael Bossongis research associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Previously, he held various research and teaching positions at Europe University Viadrina, the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Hamburg, and the Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin.
The last two modules, Module VIII and Module IX, combined a class on global climate change and international environmental policy with a simulation game of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations. Franzjosef Schafhausen gave participants an overview over all issues related to Global Climate Change policy and introduced them to the different roles of different countries and actors. Mr. Schafhausen has worked for the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) between 1987 and 2016, followed by a position at the Financial Research Department at the University of Cologne, the Federal Environmental Agency and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. From 2014 until 2016, he took over the role of Director General of the Department of Climate Change Policy, European and International Policy.
On the last day of classes, Klaus Schneider led the simulationgame in which students took over the roles of representatives of selected states, NGOs or the United Nations in the upcoming COP. Klaus Schneider has been working for Planpolitik since 2009. As Planpolitik offers concepts and solutions for relations dynamics of politics and negotiations, in his position Klaus Schneider has facilitated over 150 simulation games, workshops and training courses in Germany and abroad.
We are happy to say that our participants truly excelled. On Tuesday, July 11, we celebrated two weeks full of intense debates and study sessions. At the Farewell Dinner, we proudly announced the students who had presented the best work throughout the GPSS Iran 2017.
Keyumars Ahmadi Tabar finished the program as best of class. Amir Mohsen Hadian Rasanani and Behzad Zerehdaran received their certificates as runners-ups. Looking at the incredible effort all participants put into their work throughout the two weeks, we firmly believe that they will return to their everyday life with new motivation to make their research matter.
We thank our partners and lecturers and hope to return to Tehran in 2018!