What is MECAM?

The Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb (MECAM) is a research centre for interdisciplinary research and academic exchange based in Tunis. MECAM promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences across the Mediterranean. Under its guiding theme “Imagining Futures –Dealing with Disparity”, MECAM aims to discuss the (re)negotiation of complex social and political conditions and expectations, norms and legacies in the wake of the “Arab Spring” in the Maghreb, the Middle East, Europe and beyond. The necessary backdrop to these processes are the disparities and inequalities that divide the Maghreb and its neighbouring regions – both historically and nowadays. The centre invites scholars at different stages of their career. Fellows work within five Interdisciplinary Fellow Groups (IFGs) along MECAM’s thematic research clusters. Furthermore, MECAM organizes various events, such as seminars, lectures, public debates and traveling academies that connect researchers and discuss research outcomes. MECAM is a joint initiative of seven German and Tunisian universities and research institutions and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Key Objectives

The major objective of MECAM is “Imagining Futures – Dealing with Disparity.” MECAM studies the complex processes of the negotiations of future social models in the present-day Maghreb societies, more specifically processes sparked by the “Arab Spring”. It addresses the diverse, and sometimes competing, cultural, social, political, and economic stakes in relation to the future of the Maghreb. In order to do so, it focuses on the different actors operating at different levels in society. In addition, it examines the respective contexts of time and space that define the initially disparate conditions of future models. The mentioned disparities exist both within the Maghreb region and also between the Maghreb and its geographic neighbors. MECAM is committed to promoting young researchers. The Centre involves doctoral and post-doctoral students in interdisciplinary fellowship programs, which contribute to increase the diversity of perspectives and approaches to research.


Apart from Philipps-Universität Marburg, MECAM consortium partners in Germany also include Universität Leipzig, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, and Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. In addition to Université de Tunis, regional partners include Université de Sfax and Institut Tunisien des Études Stratégiques (ITES) as well as other partners from Morocco and Lebanon. Find out more

Structure and Organization

MECAM is led by two directors, Khaled Kchir, on the Tunisian side, and Rachid Ouaissa, on the German one. They are supported by MECAM’s main partners, Philipps-Universität Marburg and Université de Tunis. The two directors, Rachid Ouaissa and Khaled Kchir, are voting members of the Executive Board and hold MECAM’s primary and final authority. They play an active role between the Executive Board and the Coordination Office in Tunis. In addition, Rachid Ouaissa and Khaled Kchir’s main tasks include the development, monitoring and supervision of MECAM’s event organization, infrastructure and management. Besides, they oversee MECAM’s networking and academic activities.



Prof. Dr. Khaled Kchir


Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa

International Advisory Board

Prof. Dr. Raja Ben Slama

Prof. Dr. Raja Ben Slama (Director of the National Library of Tunisia, Université de la Manouba, Tunis/Tunisia)

Prof. Dr. Karima Dirèche

Prof. Dr. Karima Dirèche (Professor of Contemporary History, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence/France)

Prof. Dr. Farid El Asri

Prof. Dr. Farid El Asri (Associate Professor of Anthropology of Religion, Department of Political Science, International University of Rabat/Morocco)

Prof. Dr. Zeina Halabi

Prof. Dr. Zeina Halabi (Associate Professor of Arabic Literature, American University of Beirut/Lebanon)

Prof. Dr. Imed Melliti

Prof. Dr. Imed Melliti (Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Institut supérieur des sciences humaines de Tunis/Tunisia)

Prof. Dr. Christoph Menke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Menke (Professor of Applied Philosophy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt/Germany)

Prof. Dr. Emma Murphy

Prof. Dr. Emma Murphy (Professor of Political Economy, School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University/Great Britain)

Dr. Isabelle Werenfels

Dr. Isabelle Werenfels (Research Fellow, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin/Germany)

Executive Council

Prof. Dr. Khaled Kchir

Director: Prof. Dr. Khaled Kchir (Université de Tunis)

Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa

Prof. Dr. Rachid Ouaissa (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

Prof. Dr. Fadma Aït Mous

Prof. Dr. Fadma Aït Mous (Université Hassan II de Casablanca, Representative of the secondary site in Morocco)

Dr. André Bank

Dr. André Bank (GIGA Hamburg, GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies)

Prof. Dr. Faiez GARGOURI

Prof. Dr. Faiez GARGOURI (Université de Sfax)

Prof. Dr. Friederike Pannewick

Prof. Dr. Friederike Pannewick (Philipps-Universität Marburg)


Prof. Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury

Prof. Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury (American University of Beirut, Representative of the secondary site in Lebanon)

Georges Khalil

Georges Khalil (Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin)

Prof. Dr. Anika Oettler

Prof. Dr. Anika Oettler (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

Prof. Dr. Jörg Gertel

Prof. Dr. Jörg Gertel (Universität Leipzig)

Coordination Office

MECAM established a coordination office based in Tunis. The office provides operational support in four related work areas, namely management, infrastructure and administration, network and communication, and academic activities. It is comprised of an academic coordinator, a research coordinator, a project coordinator and a student assistant.