Call for papers: Managing Middle East Diversity: the Modalities

Though dominated by the Arabic language and Islam, the nearly 500 million people of the Middle East today display great ethnic and cultural diversity. Such diversity of faiths, languages, architecture and popular culture contributed much richness to world heritage between the 9th and

19th centuries. However, this diversity has also resulted in episodes of tension and conflict, especially with the establishment of the “imported” nation-state model following the 1st World War. This tension reaches a new climax at present with increasing assertion of primordial sentiments over national belonging and citizenship, threatening the state itself.

The AUC Forum and the Ibn Khaldoun Center host April 23-24, 2017 in Cairo an international conference to examine the strategies that communities, governments, and diverse groups themselves have devised to manage diversity either destructively or creatively. Papers will review how to cope with challenges posed by intergroup dynamics within the region as well as the confounding effects of external intervention. The emphasis is on the modalities to get out of this conflictful and destructive dilemma. Several models of co-existence will be critically reviewed, including the Western ‘melting pot’ model of assimilation, the historical ‘dhimma’ model during the Ottoman Empire, and federalism or separation models. Questions to be considered include: What are the preconditions for achieving true pluralism in the contemporary Middle East? Where are the hopeful examples, and what can be learned from them? Is a balance-sheet of different models available/possible to guide the future of the region?

The conference will bring together scholars, ethnic and religious scholars, policy professionals, and a panel of diverse young leaders to offer their perspectives on how to reach such constructive modalities and initiate a new phase in the Middle East.


Authors are to submit their abstracts in English (or Arabic) – (Max. of 400 words in MS Word or PDF version) by e-mail to no later than March 5th, 2017.

Abstracts should include the following:

  1. Your name, organization/school affiliation, and position
  2. The title of your abstract
  3. 400 word body paragraph (abstract)

Authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to submit a full written paper in English (or Arabic) – (First Draft – Max. of 3,000 words in MS Word or PDF Version) no later than March 30th, 2017. 

The conference will:

  • Cover travel and accommodation costs of the papers’ authors during the conference. For those authors who require a visa to travel to Egypt, please start your visa application instantly.

Important Dates:

  • Abstract Submission OPEN: 19 February 2017
  • Abstract Submission DEADLINE: 5 March 2017
  • Abstract acceptance notification: 9 March 2017
  • First Draft of Paper Submission DEADLINE: 30 March 2017