Panel 1: Contemporary Conflicts in the Middle East, Their Historical, Cultural and Ethnic Legacy, and Possibility for Intercultural Dialogue

Date & Time: Friday, 8.04.2016; 14.00–15.40

Location: Jakobi 2-106

Panel Convener:

Holger Mölder (Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia),


Vladimir Sazonov (University of Tartu, Estonia),


The spread of numerous ethnic, religious and cultural conflicts in the Middle East has promoted the emergence and growing influence of various extremist movements. The unstable situation in the Middle East has damaged the cultural legacy of the Ancient Near East, which is the cradle of human civilization. The panel examines the historical, political and cultural processes which have led to the emergence of the contemporary situation in the Middle East. Many processes we witness today (the Arab Spring, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the rise of extremism in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria) have their roots in early history, which is related to the modern identity building in the region. The primary goal is to analyze the development of the multicultural environment in the Middle East throughout history, how it emphasizes current intercultural dialogue and produces various responses to it (i.e. ethnic and religious conflicts, extremist movements, social revolutions). Under which conditions would it be possible to achieve a breakthrough towards the development of intercultural dialogue?

The panel encourages interdisciplinary research on Middle Eastern conflicts, therefore welcoming research papers focusing on historical, theological, cultural, political and other relevant issues.

Panelists (click on the title for an abstract):

  1. Vladimir Sazonov (University of Tartu, Estonia) “Conflict in Syria and Iraq: Destruction of Cultural Legacy, Archaeological Looting, and the Future of Archaeological Sites”
  2. Yehuda Blanga (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel) “ISIS – A Passing Phenomenon or an Existing Entity”
  3. Leons Taivans (University of Latvia, Riga) “Large Scale Immigration from the Middle East: Risks and Disadvantages”
  4. Holger Mölder (Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia) “The Narrative of Islamic State and the Lemmas of Middle Eastern Security Environment”