Scientific Advisory Board
Riccardo Bocco is Professor of Political Sociology at the Anthropology and Sociology Department of the IHEID in Geneva, his main geographical area of fieldwork for the last 35 years has been the Near East with a particular focus on Jordan, Israel/Palestine and Lebanon. He has successively worked on issues of development policies and State-building; on humanitarian aid and refugees; and monitoring the impact of international aid on civilian populations. In addition to his PhD at SciencesPo (Paris), he has degrees in cultural anthropology, development studies and Arabic language. He has been director of the French Centre for Research on the Contemporary Middle East, based in Amman, and then Research Director at the Graduate Institute for Development Studies in Geneva. During the 2000s, he has led large-scale research projects on international aid in the Near East for United Nations’ agencies. His present research project titled ‘Violence, memory and cinema’ explores the role of documentary and fiction films in reconstructing collective identities during armed conflicts (Israel/Palestine) in post-civil wars (Lebanon) and in post-dictatorship contexts (Argentina and Chile).
Martino Diez is scientific director of the Oasis International Foundation and assistant professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Catholic University of Milan. He is a member of the study commission on radicalisation and jihadi extremism established by the Italian Government (Presidency of the Council of Ministers) in September 2016 and invited researcher at the PISAI (Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies). Among his publications: Introduzione alla lingua araba. Origini, storia e attualità (An introduction to Arabic: Origins, History and Present), Vita e Pensiero, Milan 2012 (new edition in preparation). Abû l-‘Alâ’ al-Ma‘arrî, L'epistola del perdono. Il viaggio nell'Aldilà (The Epistle of Forgiveness. The Journey to the Afterworld), Einaudi, Turin 2011. Abû t-Tayyib al-Mutanabbî, L’emiro e il suo profeta. Odi in onore di Sayf ad-Dawla al-Hamdani (The Emir and His Prophet: Odes in praise of Sayf ad-Dawla al-Hamdani), Ariele, Milan 2009. He is the scientific editor of the journal Oasis, published in English, French, Italian and Arabic and the general editor of the e-book series ‘Meticciati’ for Marsilio.
Gilles Kepel is a French political scientist and Arabist, specialised in the contemporary Middle East and Muslims in the West. He is Adjunct Professor at the Univeristà della Svizzera italiana and scientific director of the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform. He is also Professor at the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) and director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Chair at PSL, based at Ecole Normale Supérieure. Originally trained as a classicist, he started to study Arabic after a journey to the Levantin 1974. He first graduated in Philosophy and English, then completed his Arabic language studies at the French Institute in Damascus (1977–78), and received his degree from SciencesPo in 1980. His research interests focus on the current geopolitical configurations and conflicts in the Middle East Mediterranean region; on the impact of Jihadi terror in the wake of the Massive attacks on French and European soil. He investigated the developments of Islam as a social and political phenomenon in France, with an innovative approach in Islamic studies in the West. He researched on the 2005 French Banlieues riots in the Clichy-Montfermeil area, north of Paris, when the events sparked. He also did compared studies of political-religious movements in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.His latest book is Sortir du Chaos: Les crises en Méditerranée et au Moyen-Orient (Éditions Gallimard, 2018).
Silvia Naef is a full professor at the Arabic Studies Section of the University of Geneva since 2006, where she obtained her Ph.D. in 1993 with a thesis on modern art in the Arab world (published in 1996). As a postdoctoral scholar, she worked on Shia in Iraq and Lebanon and their relation to left-wing ideologies, in Germany (Tübingen and Freiburg im Breisgau, 1993-1996) and Basel (Switzerland, 1996-2000), with grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Janggen-Pöhn Foundation (St. Gallen, Switzerland). She has taught in Tübingen (1995/96) and Basel (1997-2000); in 2000, she became an associate professor at the University of Geneva. At present, her research focusses on modern art, visual representations and images in the Arab and Islamic world; she is also interested in gender issues. On this theme, she organized in April 2013, with Prof. Yasmina Foehr (Medieval French studies) a conference on the veil and the female body, which resulted in a publication. She was the leading researcher of the four years Sinergia research project ‘Other Modernities: Patrimony and Practices of Visual Expression Outside the West’, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2013-2016), codirected by Prof. Irene Maffi (University of Lausanne) and Prof. Wendy Shaw (Free University Berlin). She has been a visiting professor at the University of Toronto (2007-2009), and at the University of Sassari (Italy, 2012), at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris (2016), and a research fellow in Göttingen (2013) and Princeton (2003).
Hela Ouardi is a Professor in the Université de Tunis, where she teaches French Literature and civilisation. She is also associated member of the Laboratoire d'études sur les monothéismes (Laboratory of Studies on Religious Monotheisms) of the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris. Other than her numerous works in the field of literary criticism and history of ideas, she is interested in Islamology. She coordinated the critic re-edition of the Chrestomathie arabe (Arabic Chrestomathy) by Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy (P.U.F., 2008) and she published in the French Review ‘Le Débat’ an article entitled De l’autorité en islam (On Authority in Islam) (Gallimard, 2012). She devotes herself particularly to the study of the Origins of Islam. She is the author of the book Les derniers jours de Muhammad (The Last Days of Muhammad), (Albin Michel, 2016).
Professor Schulze studied Oriental Islamic studies, Romance languages and linguistics at the University of Bonn. He received his doctorate there in 1981 with a dissertation on the rebellion of the Egyptian Fallahin. His habilitation took place with the help of a DFG scholarship in 1987 with studies on the history of the Islamic World League. From 1987 to 1992, he worked as Professor of Oriental Philology at the Ruhr University Bochum, and from 1992 to 1995 as Professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic Studies at the University of Bamberg. Since 1995 he has been Full Professor of Islamic Studies and Modern Oriental Philology at the University of Bern. From 1998 to 2001, he was Head of Planning at the Faculty of Philosophy and History of the University of Bern. He has also served as Vice Dean (2001- 2003), and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and History (2003 - 2007,) University of Bern.