On July 20, 2021, Ahmet Sözen, professor of political science and international relations at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) and Constantinos Adamides, associate professor of international relations at the University of Nicosia, visited the seminar "Cyprus - A Conflict at a Crossroads," led by Thomas Diez. They both gave their views on the current state of affairs in the Cypriot conflict on the microlevel as well as in regard to its embeddedness in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Ahmet Sözen highlighted that the failure of the Crans-Montana talks on Cyprus (2015-2017) should not be considered a watershed as much. What can be witnessed according to his opinion is a discursive shift in Turkish foreign policy, shifting from the support of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (BBF) to the need to find an alternative solution, which could be two equally sovereign states of Cyprus. However, Sözen questioned whether this really represents a radical change in Turkish foreign policy or rather an attempt to influence negotiations on Cyprus from a higher position.
Constantinos Adamides described the post-2017 period as a period of stagnation and emphasized that many think of the lack of retrogression as progress. This mentality, however, hinders chances of real progress and makes the status quo appear as a positive development. Adamides admitted that Turkey’s more assertive, militarized foreign policy in combination with its rhetoric push for a two-state solution could hint towards a negotiating strategy to reach a more favorable BBF but it could also be the real goal. The Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot leaders will probably meet again informally in the context of the next General Assembly in New York. Sözen pointed out that whether the parties will come to the conclusion that there is common ground to build on and restart formal negotiations will very much depend on how Turkey’s geopolitical position is going to unfold. Nevertheless, both Sözen and Adamides agreed that no major change in the Cyprus conflict is expected any time soon.
On July 14, 2021, Professor Birgül Demirtaş gave a lecture on her current research project, which is dedicated to the question of whether the external, diplomatic relations of Turkish cities allow a conclusion to be drawn about Turkey's national foreign policy. Here, she pointed out that the importance of cities is not only increasing in global politics in general, but also that the external relations of Turkish cities in particular have expanded. At the same time, Turkey has had a new political system since 2018, which is classified as "not free" by Freedom House. "Local politics can include seeds of change on the national level", Demirtaş argued in this context. Her research project will shed light on the extent to which national trends can be deduced from these local dynamics and the role that city diplomacy plays in centralized, populist systems.
On June 22, 2021, the seminar "Cyprus - A Conflict at a Crossroads," led by Thomas Diez, was delighted to discuss with Costas Constantinou his documentary "The Thrid Motherland." Constantinou is a professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus and produced "The Third Motherland" together with Giorgos Kykkou Skordis in 2011. This documentary consists largely of interviews that give voice to the experiences of the Maronite community in Cyprus - as a third party in the bi-communal system of Cyprus created in 1960 and, a little later, the divided island. Thus, it asks fundamental questions regarding identities, belonging to overarching groups, but also resistance and exclusion.
Last weekend, from 18-20.6.2021, political science students conducted a mediation simulation. The subject was the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. For three days, discussions were held, speeches were made, consensus was found, and red lines were insisted upon. As in real life, positions hardened, and delegates became emotional at times. But in the end an agreement was signed.
After heated discussions, the students came to an agreement on Sunday. It includes a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, an improvement of crossings into the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, and they agreed to meet again for negotiations within the next 30 days.
The simulation is held every two years at the Institute of Political Science as part of the seminar "Theories and Practices of Mediation". In the seminar, students learn about theoretical foundations, which they then can apply in the simulation - in practice.
Lecturer Gabi Schlag created a framework program and led the media team, but the structuring of the negotiation process was in the hands of the students. Four of the participants formed the fictitious UN mediation team and were responsible for the structure and moderation of the negotiations.
The other participants also took on fictitious roles - including those of Ukrainian President Zelensky and Russian Prime Minister Mishustin. Merkel, Macron, OSCE representatives and Eastern Ukrainian separatist leaders were also at the negotiation table with their roles brought to life by the students.
Simulations enable students to put themselves in other positions, to reflect on the interests, needs and fears of conflict parties and to understand a conflict in its various facets. The fact that violent conflicts are not easily resolved and that negotiations develop dynamics of their own is one of the most important insights to take away from the simulation.
For the students, it was the first time in over a year that a course could take place offline – at the university. In compliance with hygiene measures, with negative Covid test results and in hybrid form the students were finally able to discuss face-to-face again, to exchange ideas and to learn together.
On June 10th 2021 Dr. E. (Lisa) Gaufman, who is Assistant Professor of Russian Discourse and Politics at the University of Groningen and University of Tübingen alumna, held a talk on Ukraine in Russian popular imagination. This online talk was part of a seminar on Theories and Practices of Mediation where students are focusing on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, but it was open to all students from the institute.
Gaufman presented different strands of how Ukraine is presented in Russia – as brother, sister, and enemy. Firstly, Gaufman talked about the perception of Ukraine being Russia’s little brother – a non-state with no language or history on its own. Secondly, she talked about the gendered perception of Ukraine. This can i.a. be seen on social media, where there have been many comments since 2014 following a narrative of Ukraine being a loose woman, who sells herself to NATO and the EU. Thirdly, there has been a rise on fascism discourse regarding Ukraine in Russian media since 2014. Reporting focuses on far-right extremists in the Ukraine, drawing a connection to historic anti-Nazi discourse in Russia and thereby perpetuating an understanding of Ukraine as the enemy.
Following the input students had the opportunity to ask questions. Gaufman then elaborated on the topics of social media channels, the role of the US, and Ukrainian identity.
Lisa Gaufman studied the MAFIP program at the University of Tübingen until 2012. She then completed her PhD at the University of Tübingen in 2016. Her dissertation’s title is “Enemies at the Gates: Threat Narratives in Putin’s Russia”.
She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bremen, before she started her current position as Assistant Professor of Russian Discourse and Politics at the University of Groningen. She i.a. is the author of "Security Threats and Public Perception: Digital Russia and the Ukraine Crisis" (Palgrave, 2017).
On February 25, 2021, Ian Manners gave a lecture on his “Normative Power Europe”-concept (NPE) in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Thomas Diez. He is currently working at the Department of Political Science at Lund University and has been previously employed as Professor at University of Copenhagen as well as Roskilde University. Ian Manners works at the nexus of critical social theory and the study of the European Union in planetary politics. His seminal piece "Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?" which served as a foundation for the seminar has widely influenced academic debates in European Studies and beyond.
In his guest lecture, Manners gave an overview of his research background and engagement with NPE and provided an insight into his current research focus. In engagement with the class he also addressed the EU’s LGBTQI+ policies, his understanding of power as well as tensions within and the possible future of his concept.
On February 18, 2021, Prof. PhD Thomas Christiansen gave a lecture on EU-China relations in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez.
Christiansen is a Professor at Luiss Università Guido Carli in Rome. He has published on different aspects of European Union politics as well as EU-China relations.
In his talk, Christiansen provided insights in the history and current state of EU-China trading relations and their growing ties in the international realm. He highlighted parallels and differences between both global players and further touched upon the complex triangular relationship between the US, the EU and China. Engaging with the questions asked by students, he also referred to the potential fragmentation of European unity in the face of selective Chinese foreign interest. However, he emphasized the importance for China to access the EU’s single market and argued that China has no revisionist aims but is seeking for acceptance as a global power in the international system. Finally, he challenged the fixed idea of a singular “Western identity” in opposition to China.
On February 4, 2021, Prof. PhD Senem Aydin-Düzgit gave a lecture on EU-Turkey relations in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez. Aydin-Düzgit is currently a professor of International Relations at Sabancı University and Senior Scholar and Coordinator of Research and Academic Affairs at the Istanbul Policy Center. In her contribution, she drew a comprehensive picture of the development, the current state as well as the future of EU-Turkey relations and Turkey's accession process to the EU. She argued inter alia that the transactional, interest-driven relationship that currently exists between the EU and Turkey does not offer a long-term perspective. Aydin-Düzgit also pointed out the complexity of the issue, which stems from the escalating situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus conflict, and the now changing position in the White House in parts.
On 28 January 2021, Dr. Kataryna Wolczuk (University of Birmingham) gave a lecture on EU-Russia relations in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez. In particular, she addressed the role of Ukraine and argued for a more empirically grounded, as opposed to a detached theoretical, approach to the EU's relations with its Eastern neighborhood.
On 07 January 2021, Dr. Franz von Lucke gave a lecture in the seminar "A Normative Power No More? The EU in International Politics" organized by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez, about the EU's conceptions of justice in international climate negotiations. Von Lucke explained the changes in the EU's conceptions of global justice in relation to the climate crisis and, accordingly, in its negotiation strategies, played an important role in the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement. In conclusion, von Lucke addressed questions from students on the prospects for success of the international climate regime. Read von Luckes corresponding paper, as well as more about the Globus research project.
On 17 December 2020, Prof. Dr. Nathalie Tocci, visiting professor at the University of Tübingen, gave a lecture on the EU Global Strategy as part of a seminar held by Prof. Dr. Thomas. In her lecture, Tocci discussed the process of developing the Global Strategy, in which she played a key role, as well as its implications for the role of the EU as a normative power. She concluded by discussing with the students the future of the Global Strategy and the opportunities and obstacles on the way to a more coherent EU foreign policy.
On 27 November 2020, Oliver Richmond, distinguished visiting professor at the University of Tuebingen, gave a MAPIR online lecture on the "Evolution of the International Peace Architecture”, which according to Richmond, can be traced through six stages or layers.
Oliver Richmond argued that the debates following the so-called local turn illustrate how a much grander edifice has emerged, from local to global scales, which though fragile and unstable, offers some prospects for further development. The theories and doctrines related to peace-keeping, mediation, peacebuilding, and state-building raise a range of long-standing questions about the evolution and integrity of this architecture. Finally, in the lecture he outlined the implications of the architecture's evolution, highlighting a form of peace-related to global justice and sustainability which remains in tension with more pervasive forms of governmentality.
On 22 July 2020, Prof. Dr. Pinar Bilgin (Bilkent University Ankara) participated in a discussion on "Prospects for Non-Western International Relations". The event was organized by Prof. Dr. Thomas Diez at the end of his seminar on this topic. Prof. Bilgin first presented a lecture in which she gave an insight into her academic biography and her engagement with non-Western approaches to International Relations. Prof. Bilgin then discussed with students the question of what is meant by non-Western approaches in the first place, as well as the epistemological, methodological, and normative opportunities and difficulties of including such perspectives more strongly in International Relations.
On 25 June 2020, an online expert discussion on "Looking at Mali: European and global efforts, losses - and gains?" took place within the framework of the seminar "Security Institutions in Europe" organized by Dr. Gabi Schlag. MAPIR students had organized the discussion as a substitute for an excursion to Strasbourg, Brussels and Geneva, which had been cancelled due to corona. Michael Gahler (CDU), Member of the European Parliament and foreign policy spokesperson of the EPP Group, and Lieutenant Colonel Björn Hoyme, a consultant in the Federal Ministry of Defence, were invited as guests. In the course of the discussion, the students had the opportunity to discuss the challenges and prospects of success of the Bundeswehr missions in Mali with the two experts. In addition to the question of the possibilities of intensified European cooperation, critical aspects of Germany's engagement in the Sahel region were also examined.
On 28 May 2020, Prof. Thomas Diez and Dr. Franz von Lucke attended the online final conference of the GLOBUS research project. In the research project, which was started in 2016, they had worked together with colleagues from different European countries on the EU's contribution to global justice. Dr. Franz von Lucke presented the main results of the Tübingen sub-project, which had dealt with global justice in relation to climate change. Prof. Thomas Diez took part in a panel discussion on future research challenges on the EU and global justice. The recording of the conference can be viewed here.
From 17-21 February 2020 an excursion to Cyprus organised by Prof. Thomas Diez took place. The students had previously dealt intensively with the Cyprus conflict in a seminar. The excursion now offered the opportunity to deepen this knowledge and to form their own picture of the conflict. The students had the opportunity to discuss the developments of the Cyprus conflict and possible future scenarios in various meetings. On the agenda were discussions with activists, academics and NGOs, including the Peace Research Institute Oslo, the Goethe Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Of particular interest was the meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Turkish Cypriots, Kudret Özersay.
From 11-14 February 2020, the Tübingen delegation to the National Model United Nations Conference in New York headed by Lea Augenstein undertook an excursion to Geneva. In discussions with staff from various UN bodies, the delegates were able to gain insights into the functioning of the UN system and benefit from detailed expert knowledge in preparation for the substantive work in their respective committees. The group visited the World Trade Organization, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Refugee Agency, and the World Health Organization, among others.
On 28 January 2020, a student day on climate justice was organised by Prof. Thomas Diez and Dr. Franz von Lucke as part of the GLOBUS research project. The keynote was held by Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Okereke examined the challenges of climate change from a justice perspective with a special focus on the Global South and discussed approaches to a more just climate policy.
Following Okerkeke's lecture, students presented posters they had created during a seminar on various aspects of climate justice. The three best posters were awarded a prize and the students will present them at a GLOBUS event in Bologna in May 2020.
Finally, an expert discussion on climate justice took place under the heading "Think Global, Act Local". Representatives from Fridays for Future, MyClimate Germany, the University of Tübingen, Stuttgart Airport and Tübingen's Mayor Boris Palmer took part in the discussion.
On 21 January 2020, Dr. Hylke Dijkstra (Maastricht University) gave a lecture on "Life and Death of International Institutions", in which he presented the preliminary results of his European Research Council funded project on this topic. Based on quantitative analyses, Dijkstra argued that international organisations that have a large bureaucratic apparatus rarely die or get replaced by others. This, according to Dijkstra, should be a cause for hope in view of the much-cited end of the liberal world order. Following his presentation, Dijkstra discussed the methodology of his research project and possibilities for further research with Prof Thomas Diez and students.
On 16 January 2020, Dr. Umut Bozkurt (Eastern Mediterranean University) and Dr. Maria Hadjipavlou (University of Cyprus) participated in a panel discussion on the future of the Cyprus conflict. As members of the Gender Advisory Team Cyprus and the Technical Committee on Gender Equality, Bozkurt and Hadjipavlou particularly addressed the chances of a stronger gender focus in the peace negotiations. Together with Prof Thomas Diez and students, they also discussed ways to strengthen the role of civil society in the peace process and the extension of the UN peace mission on the island.
On 9 January 2020, Professor Erol Kaymak (Eastern Mediterranean University) gave a presentation on the Turkish Cypriot perspective on the Cyprus conflict. Following his talk, Kaymak engaged in a discussion with students about the role of the EU in the Cyprus conflict and the potential impact of international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
On 25 November 2019, Prof. Thomas Diez took part in a panel discussion during the climate strike week at the University of Tübingen. Together with Prof. Kramer (general rhetoric), Prof. Trautwein (educational sciences) and Prof. Wiesing (medical ethics), he discussed the responsibility of science in the climate debate, the opportunities and challenges of climate change for democratic societies, and the effects of the climate crisis on international relations. There was consensus across the panel that climate change must play a greater role in science and university teaching.
From 8-10 July 2019 a mediation-simulation took place in Bad Urach under the direction of Dr. Gabi Schlag. In order to save the Iran nuclear agreement, 15 participants took over the roles of, among others, Frederica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mike R. Pompeo, US Secretary of State, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They were supported by three mediators. At the end of the eventful negotiations, all parties agreed on a common additional declaration: Joint Agreement of Action!
On 3 July 2019, Prof. Thomas Diez gave a lecture on "Power and Inclusion in the International Society" at the Departmental Seminar. In his lecture, he presented some basic conceptual thoughts on these concepts and their relation, and applied them to the example of the EU as a normative power.
On 2 July 2019, Lee Jarvis, Professor of International Politics at the University of East Anglia, gave a guest lecture as part of the lecture "Discourses of Security". In his presentation, Jarvis dealt with parliamentary debates on the proscription of terrorist organisations in the United Kingdom. He analysed how in these debates the liberal British identity is produced and reproduced by juxtaposing it with the illiberal and irrational identity of terrorist organisations. The regularity of this process lends a ritualistic character to the always successful proscription procedures. Jarvis then discussed with the students limits and further possible applications of his concept.
On 2 July 2019, Prof. Münevver Cebeci of the Marmara University Istanbul, gave a guest lecture entitled "Deconstructing Ideal Power Europe: The EU and the Arab Change". Cebeci analyzed how the EU constructs its self-understanding as a normative power and how this construction is reproduced in scientific literature, using the example of European reactions to the changes in the Arab world in 2010 and 2011. Cebeci stressed that she did not intend her work to evaluate EU policy from a normative perspective. However, her poststructuralist research offered a critical reading that made it possible to deconstruct the processes of identity construction in the political and academic discourse on EU foreign policy.
On 25 June 2019, Niklas Schörnig, Deputy Chairman of the Research Council of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, gave a presentation as part of the lecture "Discourses of Security". Schörnig defended a neorealist "narrow" concept of security. Referring to recent world political events and developments in the arms industry, he argued that the probability of interstate wars was increasing. According to Schörnig, preventing these wars was the central challenge, which is why widening the concept of security was problematic. Schörnig then engaged in an intensive exchange with the students, who critically discussed his arguments.
On 18 June 2019, Cynthia Petrigh, founder and director of "Beyond Peace", gave a presentation as part of the lecture "Discourses of Security". Through her company, Petrigh provides training and advisory services to armed forces, peacekeepers, and non-state armed groups on international humanitarian law, compliance with international norms, prevention of sexual violence, and investigation of human rights violations. She assists societies in transformation processes by supporting mediation efforts, dialogue initiatives, and promoting the participation of women in peace processes.
Petrigh provided detailed information on her work in various conflict areas, including Cameroon, Mali, the Philippines and the Central African Republic. She spoke in detail about the opportunities and challenges of integrating gender perspectives and awareness for human rights and humanitarian law into armed conflicts. In this regard Petrigh offered surprising insights into the practical cooperation with non-state armed groups.
On 17 June 2019, Prof. Thomas Diez gave as part of the Studium Generale lecture "The Return of the Sultan? On the Political Economy of Authoritarianism in Turkey", a presentation on the topic of "The European Union and Turkey". He analysed the development of relations between the EU and Turkey from the 1960s to the present. Diez described the current deadlock in the accession talks as the result of a dilemma: both sides were neither interested in serious negotiations nor in breaking off the talks, an imminent solution to this problem was not to be expected. Against this background, Diez pointed out the importance of civil society exchanges for a potential mutual rapprochement.
On 21 May 2019, Ben Tonra from University College Dublin gave a lecture on "Brexit and European Security" as part of the lecture "Germany and the EU in International Politics". Tonra dealt with the implications of Brexit for the European security architecture and the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU. Tonra also gave a particularly vivid analysis of the consequences of the Brexit for the security of Ireland, warning against a renewed escalation of ethnic and religious conflicts on the island.
On 15 May 2019, Dr. Gabi Schlag gave a lecture at the IfP's Departmental Seminar entitled "Ignore or Delete? Governing graphic visual content on social media". She dealt with the EU's approach to the regulation of graphic-visual content uploaded, distributed and viewed on social media platforms. Gabi Schlag thus tried to answer the question of who has the authority and legitimacy to govern the Internet and what a legitimate regulation of graphic content should look like.
Also this year, a delegation from Tübingen took part in the National Model United Nations Conference, in New York, the largest worldwide. From 14-19 April 2019, the interdisciplinary group represented the Republic of Namibia. In addition to the intensive work in the committees, a visit to the Namibian UN representation was also on the agenda. The delegation was awarded numerous "Position Paper Awards" for its substantive preparation for the work in the individual committees. On the last day, some members of the delegation had the opportunity to address their committees in the plenary hall of the UN General Assembly. At the closing ceremony, the delegation from Tübingen was also honoured as a "Distinguished Delegation".
On 22 January 2019 Thomas Diez gave, as part of the Studium Generale lecture “Autonomy-Demands and Secession-Movements in Europe and the World”, a presentation on the case of Cyprus. He described the causes of the conflict and traced its course along various failed rapprochements of the conflict-parties. Finally, Thomas Diez sketched a possible concept to solve the conflict, which then was object of intense discussions.