2016 International Neighbourhood Symposium

“Societal Transformations in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South”
Yeşilköy, Turkey
22 – 26 June 2016

The Center for International and European Studies (CIES) at Kadir Has University will host the 6th International Neighbourhood Symposium (INS) in Yeşilköy between Wednesday, 22 June and Sunday, 26 June 2015. This year’s Symposium will focus on “Societal Transformations in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South”. Yeşilköy is a quiet and secure neighbourhood along the Marmara Sea near the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, far from the bustle of the city center.

The setting: The INS focuses principally on the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South, two regions that are shared neighborhoods of the European Union, its member states, the Russian Federation, and Turkey. While each region is distinct with its own historical, political, social, cultural and economic features; their contiguity implies a number of synergies on different sectoral concerns such as systemic dynamics given the concentration of great and 2nd tier powers with a stake in the two regions.

The two neighborhoods are also in the spotlight given their flux with tangible concerns such as security that crisscross across both regions as well as immaterial concepts such as identity, culture, and democracy. While an understanding of the key dynamics at play is imperative, it is also incumbent to debate and explore how to promote change be it in terms of how to inspire active citizenship by empowering young leaders, youth, women, and civil society organizations; tackling the impact of corruption on society; addressing the challenges of migration flows and the integration of refugees; and holding honest and open debates on civic engagement, democracy, and individual freedoms.

In other words, beyond the headlines and the unravelling of both regions, the need to rebuild, rethink, and invest in human capital is primordial. This is the task that the Symposium attempts to tackle.

Objective: The 2016 International Neighbourhood Symposium aims to discuss, assess, and understand the regional dynamics as well as the impact these are having on the transformation of the societies of the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South. Consequently, each presentation and discussion will focus on the themes of societal transformations in order to present fresh perspectives on the issues and to challenge the participants as they debate these. While some sessions have a general geographic focus; most will be thematic by stressing the perspective and potential of the human capital from the regions. All of these points will be discussed further through peer to peer workshops facilitated by conflict resolution trainers whereby participants will be presenting project proposals emanating from their cooperation in the workshops.

Target audience: The International Neighbourhood Symposium aims to promote further understanding and cooperation in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean South and beyond by providing a forum for study, dialogue and networking in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment. Young professionals and graduate students primarily from the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood, the Mediterranean South, Central Asia, EU member states, and the United States are the Symposium target group. In addition, applicants from the fields of public policy, politics, journalism, and business are especially encouraged to apply. The target age group is 22-35 years of age (those born between 1980 and 1993).

Partners: The CIES project enjoys the support of numerous international partners and co-sponsors. To date these include the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation; NATO Public Diplomacy Division; the Friedrich Naumann Foundation; the Harvard University Black Sea Security Program; Kadir Has University; the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, Washington, DC/Istanbul; the International Institute for Peace, Vienna; the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey; Arcadia University; the International Networking Institute, Istanbul; the International Relations Council of Turkey; the Navarino Network, Thessaloniki; the Fotoessa Centre for Education, Research and Action, Athens; UA: Ukraine Analytica; International Development Management (IDEMA), Istanbul; House of Europe in Rhodes, Greece; the Lazord Foundation, Paris; the Federation of NGOs for Development (FOND), Bucharest; “Mihai Viteazul”  National Intelligence Academy, Bucharest; and the Open Ukraine Foundation, Kyiv.