MENA is a student initiative at the Graduate Institute that provides a platform for discussion and debate on the multiple and complex transformations, conflicts and challenges in the Middle East and North Africa region. At the same time, it strives to bring together students interested in the MENA region for informal exchange and networking, while introducing the region, its culture and history to those interested. We also collaborate ad hoc with other regional and thematic initiatives to provide students with dynamic events. The MENA Initiative also hopes to connect students with the arts and language of the region by using the Facebook page as a platform to share articles and resources for learning Arabic.
The initiative was founded at the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year by Yosra Nagui Saad and Paroma Ghose who, later that year, handed it over to Salmaa Elshanshory and Karina Elias. For the 2013-14 academic year, four new students were recruited to take over the board and expand MENA’s initiative, namely Jessica Elisa Gerken, Azra Avdagic, Olivia Mathys and Michael Bimmler. In the current academic year, the Initiative has expanded its outreach and visibility on campus, while trying out innovative event formats.
Summary of Events held Last Year
November 2015: We kicked off the semester with a screening of Wadjda, the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director. The screening was followed by a debate moderated by Professor Bourbonnais on gender and representation in the region.
Check us out online for updates on the region, including music, arts, articles, Arabic practice and more.