The Understanding the Middle East: Regional and International Identities, Interests, and Strategies program aims to enable students to achieve a clear understanding of the main issues that have shaped and are characterising the politics of the region, its role in contemporary international politics, as well as the strategies employed by the main international actors towards it. The program also aims to investigate the usefulness and the shortcomings of (‘Western’) international relations and political science approaches and concepts to the region, highlighting both the differences and similarities between the Middle East and other political areas.
The 3 week course will combine lectures, in-class debates, and a role-play activity. You will be asked to choose a political actor from among the suggested ones and:
- Study it in depth and provide a position paper on it (deadline: end of the first week);
- Briefly present the position paper during classes;
- Play the role of that political actor during the course by developing strategies and implementing regional policies according to the rules set by the instructor.
After the first week of the course, you will be encouraged to play the role of your chosen political actor and try to achieve its aims inside and outside of class. At the end of the second week, the resulting fictional regional order will be discussed in class. During the third week, you will be asked to develop new strategies in order to adapt to changes in variables as modified by the instructor, and to prepare for a fictional UN-sponsored conference on Middle Eastern Regional Order, which will take place at the end of the course.
** The program details are subject to change **
- The Strategic Centrality of the Modern Middle East; Orientalisn
- The creation of the Middle East (and Islam)
- The Middle Eastern State (Authoritarianism)
- The 'Curse of Black Gold', Conflict and Cooperation
- A Democratic or an Islamist 'Wave'? The Middle Eastern 'Uprisings', from Tunisia to the 'Syrian Spillover'
- The Israeli-Palestinian (Arab) conflict
- International Actors: the European Union, the United States, Russia, and China
- Regional Actors: Iran, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic State
- The International System of the Middle East: Structural Features and Contemporary Change
- Presentations: International and Regional Actors
- In class role-play: Sherpa Conference
- In class role-play: The UN-Sponsored Conference for a Peaceful and Stable Middle East
The course includes a number of cultural activities in order to give participants an appreciation of Italian culture and attitudes.
The activities are yet to be confirmed but are likely to include:
- Guided tour of Milan with a focus on the Duomo
- Cenacolo (The Last Supper) *This activity is dependent on the availability of tickets
- Farewell Happy Hour
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (also known as UCSC or UNICATT) is an Italian private research university and was founded in 1921. Cattolica is the largest private university in Europe. Its main campus is located in Milan, with satellite campuses in Brescia, Piacenza, Cremona, Rome and Campobasso. The Milan campus, situated in the heart of Milan’s St. Ambrose district, is characterised by chapels and great halls which mark the university’s original use as a monastery as far back as the 8th century. UCSC has been awarded 5 stars by international university ranking system, QS Stars, and has been noted as the fourth most recommended university to attend by international students. Gain first hand exposure to the European perspective on international relations by living in Europe itself and learning about regional concerns in context.
Alessandro Quarenghi is a lecturer in International Politics at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, where he teaches subjects on International Relations and International Relations of the Middle East. He holds a degree in Law, a PhD in International Relations, a Specialisation in International Economics and Politics, and Masters Degrees in Postcolonial Politics and Cross-cultural Mediation. His work focuses on Middle Eastern Order, regional security issues, Democratisation processes, and regional cooperation.
Students will be staying in dorm style accommodation and will be sharing a room with at least one other student. The accommodation is roughly 20 minutes away (metro and walking) from the University. All rooms have WiFi and a private bathroom as well as kitchen facilities.
Hear the experiences of other students on this program
“Milan was a beautiful city to be able to study in for 3 weeks. As you can imagine, the food in Italy was incredible! The architecture was also amazing and Italian culture and religion are so different to anything I’ve experienced at home. From exploring churches and viewing the Last Supper painting, Milan was really able to keep us busy! Being the fashion capital of the world, studying in Milan gave us the opportunity to explore the high-end retailers in the city centre. To clarify nothing was purchased- we were simply window shopping! Watching an Inter Milan football game was really a once in a lifetime experience, as were the cocktails we drank on the rooftop overlooking the city.”
- Elysse Anderson, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws Honours READ MORE
The city of Milan has an ancient cultural heritage and legacy. Modern Milan is recognised as a world fashion and design capital, with a major influence in commerce, industry, music, sport, literature, art and media. The city remains one of Europe’s main transportation and industrial hubs, making it one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities in Europe.
Milan boasts long experience of public transport: its first street cars date back to 1841. Today, the wide assortment of trams, buses, trolley-buses and the three lines of the subway makes it easy to get to almost every corner of town. The Fiera Milano City, for instance, is on the red subway line 1 (direction Rho Fiera, Amendola Fiera stop).
Tickets (Euro 1.5) are not on sale on vehicles: you can buy them at most newsstands and in some bars. You can use a ticket for 90 minutes on as many trams and buses as you like, but only once on the subway. Tickets to reach some suburban subway stations (Rho and Rho Fiera, the two stops for Milanofiori Assago, the three ones in Cologno, and towards Gessate beyond Cascina Gobba) are more expensive.
With a world-renowned reputation for its gastronomy, fashion and design, there is no shortage of shopping and eating opportunities in Milan. The city centre is home to most of Milan’s shopping, eating and entertainment. Some places of note:
Brera. This is one of the most exclusive and fashionable places in Milan, with an atmosphere vaguely reminiscent of Paris, with its artists, open-air coffee shops and sophisticated boutiques. This area, which could be described as “luxury Bohemian” includes Via Brera, Via Solferino, Via Pontaccio, Corso Garibaldi and Corso Como. Alongside it there are many eighteenth century palaces including Palazzo Brera at number 28 Corso Como that houses the famous Pinacoteca.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The gallery with its glass and iron structure was built around 1870 and is called the “salotto di Milano” (The Milan Lounge). It houses old coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and historical bookshops. Luxury shops sit side-by-side with fast-food outlets such as McDonalds.
Milan has won the 2015 Eurocities award for Innovations for its project on “Fewer cars, more shared spaces, better quality of life for all”. Read more on sharing mobility strategy in Milan.
All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.
Your course convenors will not be able to approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive the syllabus upon being assessed as eligible for the program.
You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.
Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.
We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, which we further outline in an email following your Initial Consultation.
Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.
Applications for our January/ February 2019 programs are now closed. Applications for our July 2019 programs will open on October 15th 2018.
In the meantime, you can Register Your Interest for a July 2019 or January 2020 program, meaning you'll receive more program info and updates. You'll also be notified when applications are open.
If you wish to know more, or if you have any questions about our programs please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org ; Messenger or (02) 9975 7792. You can also refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.