The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a complex region: more than 500 million people, twenty different countries, a rich cultural, economic and intellectual history, the cradle of all three monotheistic religions, and a strategic location in and next to three different continents. Developments and events in this region have a large influence on other parts of the world. Even so, it is often difficult to really understand what is happening in the MENA region, which developments are taking place and what these mean for, for example, the Netherlands and Europe. Reporting and discourse about the region are often rather one-sided, with limited regard for nuance and humanity. To also share the other stories about the region, Mark started a new initiative, together with the Greater Middle East Platform: online lunch interviews on ‘Het Dakterras’ (EN: ‘The Rooftop Terrace’).
Every two weeks, a guest will be interviewed with beautiful stories and interesting experiences about and from the MENA region. After the interview, there is space for questions and aftertalk. The lunch interviews last half an hour and are in Dutch. You can apply in advance, after which you will receive a Zoom invite per email. Are you not able to join? You can listen to the interview as a podcast afterwards.
The following lunch interviews are next:
- Wednesday 16 December 2020: Fernande van Tets, journalist, former employee of the UN and author of the book Four seasons in Damascus. Report of a country at war. (Register now).
- Wednesday 6 January 2021: Nikolaos van Dam, former diplomat in the Middle East and author of the book Grenades and minarets. A diplomat searching for peace in the Arabic and Islamic world (Register now).
The first lunch interview was with Olaf Koens, journalist and Middle East correspondent. You can listen to this interview through the website of the Greater Middle East Platform or via your podcast app (search for ‘Het Dakterras’ (the rooftop terrace).