This talk examined what kind of role the EU is playing in the current turbulent MENA/Mediterranean scene and what is left of the EU’s influence in what appears to be a time of flux and crisis, both internally and externally, for this complex, hybrid and increasingly unconfident international actor. Answers to these question need to be put in historical perspective, starting from the ‘good old days’ when the EU seemed to have a distinct political vision for its southern outer periphery, and behaved as a major international actor there in terms of presence, opportunity and capability. The talk traced the process of what one may call the rise and fall of the EU’s Mediterranean project, addressing the following stages:

  1. The ‘happy 1990s’ and the 1995 Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) as the golden age of liberal region-building in the Mediterranean
  2. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the era of bilateral differentiation and competition starting from the mid-2000s
  3. The 2008 Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the era of functionalist/technocratic de-politicisation
  4. The 2011 Arab Uprisings and the era of EU frenzy, uncertainty and disorientation
  5. The 2016 EU Global Strategy and the era of EU self-absorption and realist restraint, or ‘principled pragmatism’

Short bio:

Irene Fernández-Molina is lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter. Her research deals with international relations of the Global South, subalternity and southern agency, foreign policies of dependent and/or authoritarian states, conflicts, international socialisation and recognition, with a regional focus on North Africa, as well as EU foreign policy and Euro-Mediterranean relations. She is the director of the MA Politics and International Relations of the Middle East at Exeter and a visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges campus. She was previously a research fellow at the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair of the College of Europe, Natolin campus (Warsaw), a Schuman fellow at the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament (Brussels) and a PhD research fellow at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Longer bio:

We welcomed around seventy guests, including students, activists, current and former local and foreign diplomats, businesspeople, etc.

Columbia University's Global Centers were founded to connect the local-regional, continental to the global through dialogue, engagement, and collaboration. This collaboration through higher education research and concerted participation is the approach to global challenges and seek comprehensive redress through collaborative approaches.  President Lee C Bollinger echoed these sentiments during his annual tour of the Nairobi Center this January.

The Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (IRCPL) at Columbia University in collaboration with the Columbia Global Center | Paris and co-sponsored by our partners in Europe, is organizing a conference entitled “Populist Power, Faith, and Precarity in Europe.” The conference will consider various forms of popular power in Europe by examining how populism is defined in various contexts, the role of historical movements in the present-day construction of populist narratives and rhetoric(s), how the use of religious identity shapes these movements, as well as the relationship between populist ambitions and how a movement engages with different media platforms.

A group of 30 MBA students from Columbia University’s-Chazen Institute of Global Business visited Nairobi to conduct a field study on the private enterprise in Kenya. The group was on hand to learn from key business figures including Dr. James Mwangi, Chief Executive Office-Equity Bank of Kenya.   Dr. Mwangi took the team through the bank’s story that spans over 25 years that involves bold leadership, change and innovation in the banking sector.  

The group took key lessons on business strategy and success the bank has achieved over this time particularly on Financial Inclusion of banking sector, in Kenya and region.   The group led by Professor Jonas Hjort was hosted by Dr. Murugi Ndirangu –Columbia Global Centers-Nairobi, Director.    The MBA students are keen to learn firsthand on the global perspective of business and examples what the Kenyan industry has proven lesson learned and shared on a global learning platform.

Under the Dr. Yusuf Hamied Fellowships Program, fellowships have been awarded for three research projects focusing on India to public health faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health and to three faculty members in Indian educational institutions for short-term residencies at the Mailman School.