Archive for the ‘Master in International Relations (MIR)’ Category


An Overview of the Political and Social Transformation in the Arab Region

Madrid, Friday 31 January 2014

12:00-14:30 at IE School of International Relations

c/Serrano 105

IE School of International Relations and the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax) are pleased to invite you to the discussion An overview of the Political and Social Transformation in the Arab Region, Friday, 31 January 2014, between 12:00 and 14:30 at IE School of International Relations (c/Serrano, 105). This discussion will include the participation of Marwan Muasher, Dr. Amr Hamzawy, Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou and Nassif Hitti. It will take advantage of the recent publication of Marwan Muasher´s new book, The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism, as well as the expertise and knowledge of the other participants, to launch a dialogue on the future of the Arab world and its political and social transformation.

The planned programme is:

12:00 – 12:10 Welcome Remarks: Ambassador Emilio Cassinello, Director General, CITpax and Dr. Arantza de Areilza, Dean, IE School of International Relations

12:10 – 12:40 Session I: Presentation by Mr. Marwan Muasher based on his book “The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism”

12:40 – 13:00 Session II: Dr. Amr Hamzawy on recent developments in Egypt

13:00 – 13:30 Session III: Panel discussion: Mr. Marwan Muasher, Dr. Amr Hamzawy, Mr. Nassif Hitti and Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

13:30 – 14:30 Session IV: Conclusions and questions


-       Dr. Amr Hamzawy, President of the Egypt Freedom Party and Professor of political science at the American University in Cairo

-       Mr. Nassif Hitti, Senior Arab League Official; former Head of the Arab League Mission in Paris; and permanent observer at UNESCO

-       Mr. Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan

-       Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute and Head of Program at the Geneva Center for Security Policy


Please kindly confirm attendance at


Jose-Antonio-Zorrilla (2)In his very interesting lecture on January 20, Ambassador Jose A. Zorrilla addressed the highly relevant theme of self-determination, one of the cardinal principles in modern international relations. It states that nations have the right to freely choose their soverignty  with no external interference. Retracing history, Ambassador explored the struggle for self-determination throughout the ages and focused more specifically on the dissolution of the Ottoman, Russian and Austrian/Habsburg empires. He also discussed the blocs of influence that were created during the Cold War and the USSR’s very special status and circumvention of the self-determination principle as defined in 1941 in the Atlantic Charter signed by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Paradoxically, the Atlantic Charter was a direct attack on the British Empire and foresaw the end of colonialism by the European Powers. While central in international relations, the right to self-determination contains an inherent contradiction that challenges the principle of sovereignty.  It implies that a people should be free to choose their own state and its territorial boundaries. However, there are far more self-identified nations than there are existing states and there is no legal process to redraw state boundaries according to the will of these peoples. Hence the ongoing struggle for self-determination in many parts of the world such as Africa, Kurdistan, Chechnya, Cyprus and even Spain.

The Master in International Relations students had many questions for Ambassador Zorrilla, including whether or not regional integration in Asia in a model similar to the European Union would ever be possible. The ambassador responded that it was quite unlikely that China, Japan and Vietnam (to name a few examples) would ever integrate. One of the reasons is that, unlike Western Europe, they had never been part of a single empire (the Roman empire). This lack of unifying polity made possible integration today unlikely. Another student asked about the situation in Afghanistan. On a pessimistic note, Ambassador concluded that he believed the problem in Afghanistan to be unsolvable precisely because of the number of very distinct peoples and tribes in an arbitrarily drawn country.

Ambassador Zorrilla is a career diplomat with postings in Milan (1989) , Toronto (1993), Shanghai (2001), Moscow (2004), Georgia and the Caucasus (2009). He has published a book on the rise of China “China la primavera que llega” and shot two documentary films  (“Los Justos” and “El desierto y las olas”) and one full length film “El Arreglo” that won the Opera Prima Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 1983.  He has just published a novel “El espía en Saratov” (De Librum Tremens) and is a frequent contributor to El Confidencial. His articles focus mostly on current affairs.



In this new bi-monthly MIR Alumni Update, we feature different MIR alumni around the world.

Ou first post will feature Kirit Patel, MIR 2011/2012 Alumnus who has just joined the United Nations in New York as Associate Economic Affairs Officer.

Here is what he writes:

“My role as Associate Economic Affairs Officer is quite broad. I work in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in a Division called ‘Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination’, and within that division I work in branch of about 10 People called ‘Policy Coordination Branch’. Our work is to help the Economic and Social Council reach consensus and then ensuring an integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to what is agreed at various ECOSOC conferences and summits.

This week, our branch hosted an Expert Group Meeting/Workshop on the following “Addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining gains the future”. Experts from UN System Partners, NGO’s, and other multi-lateral institutions were in attendance. The main topics for debate were the role of institutions in supporting sustainable development, inclusive development, measuring development progress, and the lessons learned from previous ECOSOC administrative practices (to support the ongoing reform process).

My role was to organise and stimulate debate amongst participants and I am currently drafting the summary note of the workshop. Other tasks I am involved in include reviewing DESA editorials, speech writing, and drafting internal communications between the Secretariat and the Member State representatives.

This has been a whirlwind experience. When I landed in NY at midnight I started practically immediately – the next morning! There is a lot of energy here with very interesting people and good social dynamic. This post was initially temporary but the good news is that I was just offered a permanent contract in the UN Young Professionals Program (YPP) in the position I am currenty in! “


Israeli Embassy


On January 9th, the International Relations Club hosted Hamutal Rogel-Fuchs, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Madrid. Ms. Rogel-Fuchs introduced her role as spokesperson and discussed the current dynamics in the Middle East with a special emphasis on Israel.  Ms.  Rogel-Fuchs began with a short introduction of her daily tasks as spokesperson and then gave a brief overview of geographical, geopolitical and economic data about Israel. Her presentation was followed by an hour of Q&A.


The IE  IR Club is pleased to invite you to attend a discussion conducted by Hamutal Rogel Fuchsm, the Spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Spain on

The Dynamics in the Middle East and the Role of a spokesperson.

The session will take place on Thursday 9 January at 17pm in Maria de Molina 2, F-001.


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