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Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies

Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM)

Imagining Futures: Dealing with Disparity

The Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM), located in Tunis, considers itself an interdisciplinary, interregional and intergenerational research platform on the Maghreb and the Near and Middle East. Under the guiding theme "Imagining Futures - Dealing with Disparity", MECAM examines the complex processes of (re-)negotiating future models of society ('imagining futures’) in the region about a decade after the beginning of the "Arab Spring", all within the context of unequal starting conditions ('disparity').

The Philipps-University Marburg functions as the coordinator of a consortium of several renowned research institutions from Germany - including the University of Leipzig, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies/ Hamburg (GIGA) and the Forum Transregional Studies/ Berlin  - as well as from Tunisia - including the University of Tunis, the University of Sfax and the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies/ Tunis (ITES). During a three-year preliminary phase (2020-2023) this consortium is entrusted with the institutional development of MECAM and the preparation of the project’s main phase (2023-2032).

The research agenda will be focused on five thematic clusters. Research within these clusters is based on the preliminary work by researchers from Germany, Tunisia, the Maghreb and the Middle East, as well as international scientists. On site in Tunis, they are working together in fellow groups, within an interdisciplinary and interregional context and with the involvement of junior researchers. To complement this research, MECAM is establishing innovative formats of scientific dialogue and opening up research results to a wider public with a “Traveling academy” and a series of events under the title “Rencontres Ibn Khadun”. Research results will also be published in academic anthologies, articles in open access journals and through the establishment of an independent MECAM Working Paper Series.

MECAM is located on the campus of the Université de Tunis in the center of the Tunisian capital. Tunisia has established itself, especially in the past few years, as an important location for free and dynamic scientific exchange in the Maghreb and Near and Middle Eastern regions. For the future, two subsidiary locations are planned in Lebanon and Morocco. The center in Tunis is managed equally by a team of German and Tunisian directors. In the context of MECAM, the Philipps-University Marburg is responsible for the overall coordination and management as well as the designation of a director. The university is also responsible for the coordination of three fellow groups ("Memory & Justice", "Aesthetics & Cultural Practice", "Resources & Sustainability") and the implementation of further MECAM formats.

Contact persons: Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa (Mail:, Prof. Dr. Habib Sidhom (Mail:, Petra Kienle (Mail:

Please find more information about MECAM on its official website.