2005 - 2006 IPF Fellow
Affiliation: Lecturer in Arabic History and Islamic Culture at the Center for Oriental Studies, St. Kliment Ohridski University, Sofia, Bulgaria
2005 - 2006: Islam as a factor in the design of a European Neighborhood Policy in the Balkans
The objectives of the project are to conduct policy-relevant research on Islam and the manifestation of Muslim identity(-ies) in the public sphere (in the Balkans but with reference to the processes in the Middle East and within the broader context of the European Union); devise an analytically rigorous policy instrument to serve as a means for making non-ideological/objective distinctions between the two "faces" of Islam: the moderate Islamic social engagement of mainstream pragmatic Muslims and radical/violent Islamic politicalactivism; outline possible ways and the extent to which Islam should play a role as a factor in the design of a new neighborhood policy in the Balkans from the perspective of Bulgaria as EU member by identifying and proposing new secular mechanisms for working through religion in the process of policy design rather than by passing religion as traditional secular approaches suggest; contribute to the preparation of Bulgaria's Middle East policy to better address the challenges of the country's new role as an EU member and its geopolitical location in the Balkans by analyzing EU mechanisms of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) in comparison with U.S. Middle East policies; and write a research paper and policy study with recommendations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the role of Islam in the design of the new neighborhood policy in the Balkans.
Working groups: Church-State Relations, Cross-Border Cooperation Outside European Union, Modernization, Globalization, and Islam, Comparative Studies, Southeast Europe: Conflict Prevention
Relevant countries: Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria