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"Knowledge from the region, for the region"

Opinion

31 Jan 2016

2015: Humanity hit a record low in the WANA region

In the Atlantic, Charles Kenny recently claimed that 2015 was the “best year in history for the average human being”.  True, the world is “better-educated, better-fed, healthier, freer, and more tolerant”, but let’s not allow global aggregates feed complacency.  How much does a better-fed global pop...
Author : Leen Aghabi
24 Jan 2016

The beginning of the end: why the diplomatic process tells us that war in Syria is concluding

Syria. That’s really all you have to say. And if you wanted to elaborate, just go with what Staffan de Mistura said: The Syria crisis is the worst failure of the international community since the Second World War, and has the potential to extend beyond the region. All the challenges, the suffering, ...
Author : Adel Elsayed Sparr
14 Jan 2016

Meet our new Research Fellows

This January, the Institute brought on two new Human Security team members - Senior Research Fellow Adel Elsayed Sparr and Research Fellow Leen Aghabi. Last week, we spent a few minutes getting to know our new arrivals  and heard about what they're going to be doing over the next year, and what they...
07 Jan 2016

The power of local knowledge in resource management

As an integral part of our history, our traditions give us a sense of identity and belonging, allowing us to evolve while retaining something original. Traditional practices teach us to learn from past mistakes, and build on successful examples. But tradition is not only limited to cultural and soci...
Author : Kamal Kakish
07 Dec 2015

Charting a new course in environmental good governance: Natural resource management, Al Hima & Islam

Water insecurity is emerging as one of the most imminent threats to the human environment in West Asia-North Africa (WANA). For instance, by 2025, water withdrawal is projected to increase by at least 50 percent, driving most countries in the region into food insecurity. The dominant frameworks for ...
25 Nov 2015

November 25th: International day for the elimination of violence against women

According to the Global Gender Gap Index 2015, released last week by the World Economic Forum, progress on closing the divide between the opportunities afforded to men and women has stalled. Gender-based discrimination remains a global phenomenon, but West Asia and North Africa (WANA) is the region ...
Author : Annalisa Bezzi
23 Nov 2015

The relationships between food, water and displacement

It was Benjamin Franklin who said that when the well is dry, we know the worth of water. The well has been dry in West Asia — North Africa (WANA) for quite some time, and the people living here know the worth of water painfully well. Clean water and food are not given goods for millions of people in...
15 Nov 2015

The case for an Islamic sustainable development model

When the post-2015 agenda was adopted in the form of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it ushered in a new era of international development cooperation. It was a welcome achievement, and one that was preceded by perhaps the most inclusive process in the history of the United Nations; each mem...
11 Nov 2015

Planning for the unpredictable: exploring transitional justice options for a post-return Syria

Currently, Syria is the battleground of one of the largest ongoing international conflicts. The Syrian conflict, since its emergence in 2011, has seen hundreds of thousands of fatalities, created millions of refugees, and set the backdrop for numerous international human rights and humanitarian viol...
Author : Adam Lhedmat
02 Nov 2015

Reflections on a summer spent in Amman: WANA's social justice intern looks back at her time spent with the Institute

As I pack my bags to return to University in England, I have been invited to write a short opinion article reflecting on my internship with the West Asia-North Africa Institute. I arrived from Rabat, Morocco not knowing what to expect of my time in Amman or what my experience at the Institute would ...
Author : Noor Jehan Guyer
11 Oct 2015

Four Syrian Futures

The conflict raging in Syria shows no sign of abating; it is plagued with too many actors and too many interests at odds with peace. Nonetheless, preparing for even the ugliest of calms is vital, not just for Syrians but for the broader West Asia-North Africa region. To aid this process, the West As...
Author : Emily Hawley
01 Oct 2015

Forging New Strategies in Protracted Refugee Crises

Read and download the WANA Institute's full "Forging New Strategies in Protacted Refugee Crises: Syrian Refugees and the Host State Economy: Jordan Case Study" report here The civil conflict in Syria poses the most complex and immediate humanitarian challenge to the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) reg...
Author : Dr Erica Harper
28 Sep 2015

Europe Should Lead by Example and Bring International Refugee Policy into the 21st Century

Europe’s failure towards the refugees at its borders is finally receiving the attention it deserves. This is an historic moment which offers European leaders the opportunity to make a serious impact, not only on the lives of those who have survived perilous journeys to the continent, but on the rele...
Author : Sean D. Thomas
21 Sep 2015

Representation is Everything in IS Social Media War

As news of Islamic State (IS, also referred to across the WANA region as Daesh) advances were trumpeted on Twitter, the world watched as, online and in real time, IS took over major Iraqi cities and resources, such as the Mosul dam. Social media, championed as a force behind the Arab Spring, suddenl...
Author : Kim Wilkinson
13 Sep 2015

Engaging Muslim Leadership in the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals

The emergence of the market-led development model has resulted in degradation and exploitation of the world’s natural capital. Since the industrial revolution, humans have consumed most of the non-renewable fossil fuels developed over the last 250 million years. This has been done in the name of eco...
Author : Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi
02 Sep 2015

Sustainable Natural Resource Management: Islamic Perspectives

Convergence and unity between natural sciences and social sciences is needed to inform and reform the discourse for water and land management. Harnessing the core values of Islam can inspire a fresh narrative that can inform a new model for sustainable water and natural resources management.  The ea...
Author : Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi
26 Aug 2015

On The One Year Anniversary of The Ceasefire in Gaza, Dr Erica Harper Reflects on The Events of Last Summer

The 26th of August 2015 marks one year since the 51-day military assault on the Gaza Strip that left 2251 Palestinians dead, 551 of them children. In the October following the ceasefire, the international community met in Cairo and pledged USD 5.4 billion for reconstruction. By February of this year...
Author : Dr Erica Harper
24 Aug 2015

The Final Installment of Research Fellow Emily Hawley's Three Part Retrospective on the Arab Spring: Arab Uprisings Stalled: Syria and the Monarchies

Did the Arab Spring Fail? While naysayers of the Arab Spring point to disappointing outcomes in Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, most Arab nations never reached the point of testing their protesters' demands. Whether demonstrators called for regime change or merely democratic reforms, in the majority of cas...
Author : Emily Hawley
22 Aug 2015

What's Inspiring WANA - Resilience With a Smile in Za'atari Refugee Camp

As Research Fellows at the WANA Institute, we each work on individual projects that may or may not have much in common. The one common theme running throughout these projects is resilience. At the Institute, we are trying to find ways to transform resilience from an abstract concept into workable po...
Author : Mays Abdel Aziz
18 Aug 2015

Part Two of a Three Part Retrospective on the Arab Spring: Regime Change in Yemen and Libya: From Weak State to Violence

Four countries experienced regime change during the Arab uprisings: Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya. While all four had struggled under autocrats for decades, from the outset, it was clear that the transitions would develop quite differently in Yemen and Libya than in Egypt and Tunisia. Egypt and Tu...
Author : Emily Hawley
12 Aug 2015

Part One of a Three Part Retrospective on the Arab Spring: The Arab Transitions: Tunisia and Egypt

The Arab uprisings of 2010-2011, prematurely dubbed the Arab Spring, left violence and conflict in their wake. Yemen, Libya, and Syria face protracted violent conflict, and dangerous non-state actors like al-Qaeda and Daesh, the so-called Islamic State, have risen amidst the chaos. Of the two smooth...
Author : Emily Hawley
11 Aug 2015

WANA Research Fellow Kamal Kakish presents research at HIMA projects and natural reserves in Lebanon

In preparation for the upcoming publication of his research on the topic of Rangelands management practices in the West Asia-North Africa Region, last week Kamal Kakish travelled to Lebanon as part of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature delegation to present to the delegation and ...
06 Aug 2015

Reflections: Blue Peace and promoting a culture of efficient natural resources management in the WANA region

In March in Amman, more than 130 stakeholders gathered from around the region to debate how new evidence on the water-peace nexus might forge new solutions to shared challenges.  The water crisis in the region is both evidenced and broadly admitted. The Arab states have the lowest freshwater availab...
Author : Dr Erica Harper
03 Aug 2015

Beyond the Horizon: A Long-term Development Agenda for the WANA Region Part Two: Strategic Steps to Advance Reform

Even as winds of war, instability, and stagnation buffet much of West Asia and North Africa (WANA), fresh ideas springing up within the region or adapted from abroad can point the way to positive change. Some such ideas are emerging from the WANA Institute’s recent opinion pieces, starting with HRH ...
Author : Professor Stephen Goulb
28 Jul 2015

What’s Inspiring WANA? A New Take On ‘Radical Muslims’

We’re called the ‘West Asia-North Africa Institute;’ it’s little surprise that at WANA, we pay attention to how language affects perceptions. But efforts to describe the violent, self-described Islamist actors in our region enter treacherous linguistic territory. The media relies on modifiers like ‘...
Author : Emily Hawley
26 Jul 2015

WANA Research Fellow presents paper at Oxford University's 2015 Humanitarian Innovation Conference

Last week, one of the WANA Institute’s research fellows, Sean Thomas, represented WANA at the Humanitarian Innovation Conference, hosted by Oxford Univeristy’s Centre for Refugee Studies. The Conference was held at Keble College, Oxford, in partnership with the World Humanitarian Summit. The Humanit...
21 Jul 2015

What's Inspiring WANA - A Lesson From Singapore

In September 2014 I had the privilege to participate in a unique and enriching experience: the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW). The event is a platform for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas between both senior water practitioners and youth from all over the world who are eager t...
Author : Kamal Kakish
15 Jul 2015

Beyond the Horizon: A Long-term Development Agenda for the WANA Region. Part One: Three Key Initiatives on Reform, Law, and Women

Even as winds of war, instability and stagnation buffet much of West Asia and North Africa (WANA), we need to think about current and future steps for meeting the development challenges confronting the region. Security concerns will dominate some discussions for the foreseeable future. But we also m...
Author : Professor Stephen Goulb
12 Jul 2015

WANA Fellows Participate in the Third Annual Hague Peace Conference

Last week, WANA Research Fellows Kim Wilkinson and Emily Hawley attended the Third Annual Peace Conference, hosted by The Hague University of Applied Sciences, in the Netherlands, after being selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The Third Annual Hague Peace Conference has a unique ...
08 Jul 2015

Green discourse for religious Islamic Leaders in Jordan: Lessons and Imperatives

West Asia witnessed the birth of early civilisation and was a hub of cultures and ideologies. It served as the crossroad of good governance from the North, beauty from the East, transparency from the West and sense of community from the South. Nevertheless, this same region is today reminiscent of c...
Author : Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi
06 Jul 2015

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal Quarterly Address: Conceptualising Sustainable Development Goal 16 in the WANA Region

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal Quarterly Address Conceptualising Sustainable Development Goal 16 in the WANA region In 2005, I had the privilege of joining an eminent group of scholars and policy leaders to reexamine the poverty challenge from the perspective of the four billion poor people who ar...
Author : HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal
25 Jun 2015

Wither the WANA state? Some thoughts on protracted conflict in the WANA region

In Syria and Iraq, the monopoly on violence is no longer the prerogative of the state. The monopoly over the legitimate use of force is seen as one of the foundations of the modern state, as Max Weber argued in his seminal work, ‘Politics as Vocation.’ However, in Syria we are witnessing the prolife...
Author : Kim Wilkinson
11 Jun 2015

WANA Institute visits the International Community School for Green Week

On June 2nd three Research Fellows from the WANA Institute visited the International Community School (ICS) in Amman during their annual Green Week. Kim Wilkinson from the Human Security team, and Laylla Rkiouak and Heather Elaydi from the Green Economy team, ran an interactive workshop for students...
Author : Heather Elaydi
09 Jun 2015

What’s Inspiring WANA: "Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security" by Sarah Chayes

Sarah Chayes’ early experience in Afghanistan parallels the missteps of the U.S.military intervention there; she’s well-intentioned, if uninformed. After arriving as a journalist at the beginning of the U.S. invasion, Chayes left her job to get involved in development She then made a classic error: ...
Author : Emily Hawley
19 May 2015

What’s Inspiring WANA: “Forced Migration and Global Politics” by Alexander Betts

As the WANA Institute’s Human Security Team continues to investigate the potential for greater economic empowerment of refugee populations in our region, I have found myself returning to this book repeatedly. Alexander Betts’ work is the first of its kind to apply the concepts and debates of Interna...
Author : Sean D. Thomas
11 May 2015

What’s Inspiring WANA: “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, should be required reading by anyone remotely interested in how extraordinary things happen. It provides a point of departure from mainstream narratives on success, and in doing so, provides a recipe for empowerment at a time when the people of this region indisputably...
Author : Dr Erica Harper
07 May 2015

Women and Islam Part 2: custom, religion and civil society

My article of last week discussed the challenges faced by the women of West Asia-North Africa upholding their rights and protecting themselves from violence. I explained that deficiencies in the legal protection framework, legal illiteracy and poor access to the justice system leave women vulnerable...
Author : Annalisa Bezzi
30 Apr 2015

In a word: Women and the Law in Jordan

Cultural practices and weaknesses in the legal protection framework can (at times) work against women, whose rights are often curbed and abused (in Jordan). In our upcoming research paper, ‘Women and the Law in Jordan: Islam as a Path to Reform’, we argue that Islam itself is women’s best ally for ...
Author : Annalisa Bezzi
30 Apr 2015

Video: Women and the Law in Jordan

Cultural practices and weaknesses in the legal protection framework can (at times) work against women, whose rights are often curbed and abused (in Jordan). In our upcoming research paper, ‘Women and the Law in Jordan: Islam as a Path to Reform’, we argue that Islam itself is women’s best ally for ...
Author : Annalisa Bezzi
28 Apr 2015

Women and Islam Part 1: new strategies to strengthen protection

The women of West Asia-North Africa face complex and multifaceted challenges upholding their rights and protecting themselves from violence. In many jurisdictions, legislation does not afford equal opportunity and protection to women; certain laws are discriminatory and others, while not explicitly ...
Author : Annalisa Bezzi
26 Apr 2015

What’s Inspiring WANA: Guest Speaker Francesca de Châtel

The WANA Institute and Strategic Foresight Group were proud to host Francesca de Châtel as a guest speaker at the international conference ‘Exploring the Water-Peace Nexus — Blue Peace in West Asia’ in March. Inspired by her talk, I have found her recent paper equally compelling in drawing to our at...
Author : Sean D. Thomas
21 Apr 2015

What’s Inspiring WANA: “Soumission” by Michel Houellebecq

Houellebecq’s book is about a moderate Islamic party being democratically elected in a 2022 disillusioned France. After the election, society starts slowly changing, women wear more conservative clothes, concealing their body shapes, they quit their jobs to stay home with their children, men enter p...
Author : Annalisa Bezzi
01 Apr 2015

Resilience: A road-map to building a secure and sustainable future for West Asia and North Africa

The challenges facing the West Asia and North Africa region are dynamic, multi-faceted, and well publicised. Lack of entrepreneurial opportunity, competition over scarce resources, sectarianism, and a growing number of uprooted persons combine to shape a region in which the disadvantaged are victimi...
Author : HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal
08 Mar 2015

Making it happen this International Women's Day

This year, to recognise International Women’s Day, we are being urged to "make it happen". Julia O’Brien met with renowned women’s rights activist and lawyer, Hauwa Ibrahim, to get her perspective on what she hopes to make happen through her work at the WANA Institute. Hauwa and I have been on the l...
Author : Julia O'Brien
24 Feb 2015

Palestinian statehood and the UN

In the second instalment in our series of guest expert opinion, former British Consul-General in Jerusalem, Sir Vincent Fean, considers questions of Palestinian statehood. He considers whether recognition of the Palestinian State can be a contributor to a peaceful outcome, or merely symbolic, and th...
Author : Sir Vincent Fean
23 Feb 2015

Syria: Reflections on a Post-War Future

Kim Wilkinson argues that policy makers should look past the civil war in Syria to think about post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. When I was visiting the Zaatari refugee camp, I met a little girl whose mother had named her ‘Syria’. She was dishevelled, playing with her brothers and si...
Author : Kim Wilkinson
20 Jan 2015

Capturing the hearts and minds of the next generation of Jerusalemites

The deprivation of basic human rights of the citizens of Jerusalem is leading young people to take action – very young people, and their action is not always non-violent. Guest writer, Walid Salem, considers what is causing the younger generation of Palestinian Jerusalemite’s to take such action, an...
Author : Walid Salem
16 Jan 2015

WANA Institute Chairman calls for rational approach in the face of Daesh

Earlier this week, the Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft (International Politics and Society) journal published an article written by WANA Institute Chairman, HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal. Titled The Lesson of Daesh’s Triumph, the article critically examines the international community’s res...
16 Jan 2015

The rise of armed non-state actors and our failure to adequately react

In recent weeks, the international media spotlight has focused on Peshmerga forces joining the battle in Kobane, accusations of sexual slavery perpetrated by Daesh fighters, and continuing airstrikes by the US-led coalition, once again without UN Security Council approval. These developments beg the...
Author : Dr Erica Harper
03 Jan 2015

Part 2: Making sure justice is measurable and something to care about

Published as part of a three-part series on the Post-2015 development agenda. I’m back, and again it’s the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda on my mind. Now that you’re all thinking about what this agenda means for the future of the West Asia-North Africa region, it’s time to hone in on speci...
Author : Dr Erica Harper
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