The event’s organisers have extended the submission period until 31 March, given the large number of applications

Around 2,400 researchers from around the world have already registered for the upcoming WOCMES, whose academic sessions will take place at the University of Seville

The Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation has already received more than 2,000 proposals for WOCMES Seville 2018, the biggest academic congress on the Middle East and North Africa, which will be held in the Andalusian capital from this coming 16th to 22nd of July. A total of 2,400 researchers from around the world have registered so far. Indeed, the large number of applications and consultations received by the organisers led to the decision to extend the proposal submission period until March 31st. The deadline had been February 28th, but Three Cultures chose to extend it in order to appropriately process all the applications received. There will not, however, be any further extensions.

This expectation shown by the academic world should come as no surprise, given that WOCMES (the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies), held every four years, is considered the most important gathering in this area, attended by leading international experts who share the advances in their respective fields of study, fostering the creation of a space for reflection and debate. Under the motto ‘Your roots. Your heritage. Knowledge that Unites’, the congress comprises academic sessions that will be held at the University of Seville, an institution collaborating with this event along with the City Council of Seville, the Regional Government of Andalusia, Casa Árabe and the Royal Elcano Institute, among others.

Those interested can choose different options for their participation, ranging from individual lectures to panels, symposia or posters. Standing out is the roundtable mode, whereby several members of a team (from four to six) can take part in the event, offering different views of a given study area. Also, the list of themes is quite diverse: Al-Andalus (added to those from previous congresses as a hallmark of this congress); the ancient Middle East; Christian studies; conflict analysis and resolution; contemporary Middle East; cultural studies; economics; gender studies; international relations and international law; Islamic studies; Jewish studies; linguistics and literature; media studies; medieval studies; Mediterranean studies; migration studies; nationality/identities and ethnic origin; regulatory phenomena and law; North Africa; politics; Sepharad and the Sephardic diaspora; scientific culture; translation studies; urban and regional studies; and water, agriculture and environment.
There are thus many ways to participate in this congress, which along with its academic aspect counts a large number of parallel activities with a focus on film screenings, publications, exhibitions, concerts and tourist itineraries. Also, for the first time in the WOCMES context, it will include an event in which universities from around the world showcase their educational offerings, particularly courses abroad.

Those who wish to submit proposals to WOCMES Seville 2018 should do so via its website (www.wocmes2018seville.org). After applications are received they are evaluated by its scientific committees (executive and advisory), whose members include leading academic figures from universities across Spain. Once that process is completed, all that remains is to formalise the registration and organise the stay in Seville; to that end, Viajes El Corte Inglés has been designated the official travel agency for this event.

International volunteering

As usual for such large-scale events, the Three Cultures Foundation has issued an appeal for volunteers interested in taking part in this event, open to the general public, though obviously more attractive for students specialising in the Arab world or political science. They will thus have an opportunity to come into contact with a large number of experts, in many cases authors of publications analysed in their respective coursework. Additionally, the volunteers will be able to freely attend all the congress’s activities.

Those who have contacted the Foundation (also via the WOCMES website) to register as volunteers so far include undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate students with good mastery of the English language and prior experience volunteering. Most of them are Spanish, though some are also from Morocco, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Jordan.

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