The Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) was established at the Université de Tunis/Tunisia to strengthen international, intergenerational and interdisciplinary scholarly exchange between Germany and the Maghreb, the Mediterranean and the wider MENA region and beyond. The overall theme “Imagining Futures: Dealing with Disparity” guides MECAM’s research agenda on questions of Aesthetics & Cultural Practice, Inequality & Mobility, Memory & Justice, Resources & Sustainability, and Identities & Beliefs. These constitute the core issues of MECAM’s five Interdisciplinary Research Fields.

MECAM information flyer:


MECAM was founded in April 2020 as an international centre for interdisciplinary research and academic exchange. It is located in Tunis/Tunisia with two secondary (network) sites in Casablanca/Morocco and Beirut/Lebanon. MECAM is a joint endeavour of a consortium of six Tunisian and German research institutions: It is coordinated by the Philipps-Universität Marburg and the Université de Tunis and supported by the Universität Leipzig, the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg/Germany, the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin/Germany, and the Université de Sfax/Tunisia. MECAM is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and hosted by the Université de Tunis.

MECAM’s guiding theme “Imagining Futures: Dealing with Disparity” addresses the complex processes of the renegotiation of societal experiences into ideas for the future (“imagining futures”) in the context of different forms and scales of disparity and unequal conditions (“dealing with disparity”). The centre explores the link between multidimensional disparities and the possibilities of building and negotiating future-oriented ideas and models.

MECAM offers fellowships in Tunis with the aim of bringing together scholars from the Maghreb, Europe, the Middle East and other regions so that they gain time and free-space to work on their self-chosen research projects within the framework of the above-mentioned research fields. The latter are connected through two methodological transversal axes highlighting the fact that ideas about the future are always defined by the perception of history in the present and that digital media impact research and the research processes in a profound way.

The fellows are offered excellent working conditions for research and debate. MECAM also holds seminars and arranges Transregional workshops and Traveling/Transregional Academies in different places in and outside the Maghreb. The fellowship programmes are supplemented by mobility grants for research stays in Germany for the benefit of scholars from Tunisia, the Maghreb, and other Arab countries. The “Rencontres Ibn Khaldun” are a series of public events seeking to highlight the work of MECAM and make it accessible to a wider academic and non-academic audience through a variety of communication formats, open access publications and other forms of knowledge transfer and translation. For its work, MECAM can rely on the expertise, the existing formats and networks of the partner institutions in Tunis, Marburg, Sfax, Berlin, Hamburg and Leipzig. All German partner institutions are members of the Forum Transregionale Studien.

MECAM is directed by Rachid Ouaissa (Philipps-Universität Marburg) and Khaled Kchir (Université de Tunis) and steered by a council of 12 members that also include: Fadma Aït Mous (Hassan II University of Casablanca), André Bank (GIGA Hamburg), Anissa Ben Hassine (Université de Tunis ), Mohamed Ali Ben Zina (Université de Tunis), Faiez Gargouri (Université de Sfax), Sonja Ganseforth (Universität Leipzig), Jens Hansen (Orient-Institut Beirut), Georges Khalil (Forum Transregionale Studien), Friederike Pannewick (Philipps-Universität Marburg/member of the board of the Forum Transregionale Studien), Nessim Znaien (Philipps-Universität Marburg).

The Advisory Board of MECAM consists of the following persons: Sana Ben Achour (University of Carthage), Karima Dirèche (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Aix-en-Provence), Franziska Dübgen (University of Münster), Sihem Najar (Université de Manouba), Emma Murphy (School of Government and International Affairs, Durham), Amal Obeidi (University of Benghazi), Fatma Oussedik (University of Algiers), Isabelle Werenfels (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik).

The Forum Transregionale Studien will be responsible for collaborative works formats, network and infrastructures: Transregional/Traveling Academies, Transregional Workshops, Network and Science Communication.

Contact at the Forum:
Dr. Diana Abbani, Science Communication Coordinator MECAM

Contact in Tunis:
Julius Dihstelhoff, Academic Coordinator MECAM

Merian Centre For Advanced Studies in the Maghreb
c/o Institut Supérieur des Études Appliquées en Humanités de Tunis (ISEAHT)
27, rue Florian
Borj Zouara (Bab Saadoun)

MECAM website
Youtube channel
MECAM series at the TRAFO Blog