My IPF Project
Islam, the Balkans,
European 'Neighbourhood' Project
Work and Advocacy Plan
of the project
The overall goal of the project is to
contribute to the development of new strategies and neighbourhood
bear in mind the cultural and religious factors, particularly Islam,
perspective and within the context of Wider Europe processes. This
will be achieved through the realization of the following main specific
- Carry out interdisciplinary research on Islam
Muslim identity in the public sphere, particularly in the Balkans but
reference to the processes in the Middle East and within the broader
the EU and its 'neighbourhood' project;
- Debate the capacity of the new Muslim publics to
in a public
process of peacemaking and promoting the advantages of an open society
to contribute to the overcoming the broader cultural divide between
the “West”, exploring also the Bulgarian, and more generally the
for interethnic and interfaith coexistence in the ENP context;
- Outline possible ways and the extent at which
play a role
as a factor in the design and the implementation of the European
(ENP) from the perspective of the Balkans, and particularly Bulgaria as
- Identify and propose new secular mechanisms for
religion, particularly Islam, in the process of policy design rather
by-pass religion as traditional secular approaches suggest;
- Prepare a research paper and work out a policy
paper containing policy recommendations for the Bulgarian
institutions in Brussels devoted to the issue at which extent Islam
a role in the further design and the implementation of the European
The project aims also to provoke
academic interest and to raise awareness among the expert community and
policymakers about the development of new national, regional and
strategies towards the Muslim ‘neighbourhood’ of the EU.
B. Identification of OSI
network programs that may serve as partners and the expected benefits
OSI-Budapest and the various OSI network programs as the
Program could benefit from the project, serving at the same time as
and providing mechanisms for its implementation and sustainability.
- The Center for
Policy Studies (CPS), affiliated with the
European University in Budapest, is one of the key possible partners,
could enable the further implementation of the project’s results on
level, e.g. through seminars, curriculum initiatives and discussions
role of Islam in the context of the European ‘neighbourhood’ project.
- One of the main
potential partners is the OSI-Brussels
because it has
been dealing extensively with the ENP and the Wider Europe challenge,
programs have already achieved specific positive results in cooperation
other organizations, e.g. with the Center for European Policy Studies
- Since in the
future the current IPF Project might be enlarged
comparative research on the United States policies towards the Muslim
neighbourhood of the EU, the New York office of the OSI could support
identification of relevant stakeholders and institutions.
- A partnership
with the OSI offices and other OSI sponsored
and think tanks in the Middle East and Europe will be very useful for
specific work on the project as well as for its sustainability.
- The OSI-Sofia
and the Bulgarian Open Society Foundation could
benefit from the project in different aspects, including during their
activities to encourage, select and evaluate local initiatives related
minority issues, human rights and intercultural education.
C. Final outcome of the
I. Research paper
and the Challenge of Wider Europe
2) Islam and Politics.
- Historical and doctrinal background within
- Contemporary Muslim political regimes: towards
- Islamic religio-political thought and movements.
- Towards Muslim publics in the Muslim majority
countries and the West: towards a religious public sphere
- The fragmentation of religious authority in
contemporary Muslim communities.
- Moderate and radical voices in the Muslim public
- Challenges to the Muslim-majority world and
- An overview of the relations between the Muslim
world and the Christendom.
- Before and after September 2001.
- Islam and the EU policies: towards the idea of
the European ‘neighborhood’.
- Secular Europe and its Muslim ‘neighbourhood’.
- Islam and the Barcelona Process.
- The challenge of Wider Europe and the European
Neighborhood Policy (ENP).
Challenge of Wider
Europe and Islam: Muslim perspectives to the EU and its ‘neighborhood’
- The Arab world: the cases of Lebanon and Egypt.
- Turkey: between candidate and ‘neighbour’.
- The Muslim minorities and majorities in the
Balkans: the Albanian Muslim of Macedonia and Kosovo and the Bosniacs.
- Bulgaria: the first EU full member from Eastern
Europe with a large Muslim minority.
5) Working with
and through Islamic religion in secular Europe.
of Chapter 4 and 5 will constitute a 20-page policy study
the following major tracks:
- Identifying problems;
- Policy options analysis;
- Policy recommendations.
project’s policy paper will contain policy
the role of Islam in the ENP context for the Bulgarian government,
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- The policy brief could be considered for
publication by the
European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels.
- In Bulgaria the policy paper will also be
published on the
the Center for Intercultural Studies and Partnership (CISP).
- It will be also sent for publication to another
- The interviewed policymakers and religious
abroad will receive an electronic copy of the paper by e-mail.
- The media coverage of the project’s aims,
provide mechanisms for a public debate among the larger public.
at workshops, seminars and conferences,
events organized by Sofia University, CEPS and CISP.
with domestic and EU officials and
policymakers as well as with Muslim religious and political leaderships
Balkans and the Middle East.
- Organizing and moderating focus-groups with the
religious Muslim leaders and followers of Islam in Bulgaria.
- Discussions around the project with
the USA and the Middle East for both research and advocacy purposes.