The Three Cultures Foundation hosts this international congress from the 16th to the 22nd of July 2018. Nearly 1,600 proposals have been submitted so far, a month before the deadline

The academic sessions will be held at the University of Seville, which is collaborating in this event along with the Regional Government of Andalusia and the Seville City Council

A month before the deadline for submitting proposals to attend WOCMES Seville 2018, the Three Cultures Foundation already counts more than 1,800 users registered to participate in this prestigious event, considered the biggest and most important academic congress on the Middle East and North Africa.

The World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) is held every four years and gathers the most distinguished experts in the field to publicise and share their research. On this occasion Seville will serve as venue for the fifth WOCMES from the 16th to the 22nd of July. The successful bid to organise the event submitted by the Three Cultures Foundation garnered 76% of the votes of the WOCMES International Council, ahead of others candidates such as London’s King’s College.

Under the slogan ‘Your roots. Your heritage. Knowledge that unites’, this Congress pays special attention to the common values that transcend different cultures, offering a stimulating space for research, reflection and debate.

Several modes are available for participants to present their studies in the academic sessions at the University of Seville, ranging from panels, roundtables, posters, symposia and individual lectures, etc. And they can choose from any of the following 25 theme areas: Al-Andalus; ancient Middle East; Christian studies; conflict analysis and resolution; contemporary Middle East; cultural studies; economy; gender studies; international relations and international law; Islamic studies; Jewish studies; linguistics and literature; media studies; medieval studies; Mediterranean studies; migration studies; nationality/identities and ethnicity; regulatory phenomena and law; North Africa; politics; Sepharad and Sephardic diaspora; scientific culture; translation studies; urban and regional studies; water, agriculture and environment.

Several things stand out on that list. The first is the presence of Al-Andalus as a theme area. Absent as such at the previous congresses (Mainz 2002, Amman 2006, Barcelona 2010 and Ankara 2014), it was included by Three Cultures to mark the specific identity of this year’s event. Also noteworthy is the ranking of theme areas indicated by the 1,600 proposals already received for presentation at WOCMES, with the contemporary Middle East accounting for the largest number by far, 350, followed by politics, Islamic studies, international relations, cultural studies, migration studies and gender studies, in that order.

For now those figures are a hopeful sign that WOCMES Seville is set to be a resounding success and that the forecasts of Three Cultures will be fulfilled. It expects to host for the occasion 2,500 participants, including academics, researchers, teachers, analysts, journalists, diplomats and other experts from around 70 countries. Indeed, regarding the latter aspect, expectations have already been surpassed, as registrations to date count people from 76 countries. The biggest group is from the United States, followed by those from Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Italy, France and Japan. The Foundation’s figures confirm that it will be an intercultural gathering with participants from places such as Macedonia, Indonesia, Mali, Kenya, Taiwan, the Vatican, South Korea, the Republic of Congo and the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Seville will become the central hub for research on the Middle East and North Africa. The project therefore counts the collaboration of the Seville City Council, the Regional Government of Andalusia, the University of Seville, Casa Árabe and the Royal Elcano Institute, among other entities.

Those interested in taking part in this congress still have time to do so, though they should hurry. The deadline for submitting proposals via the WOCMES Seville 2018 website ( is this coming February 28th. Once received, the scientific committee comprising distinguished academic figures from all around Spain will examine them and study their viability. After that, the registration can be formalised and the stay in Seville organised, for which we count the help of Viajes El Corte Inglés, the event’s official travel agency.

Cultural programme

Other modes of participating in WOCMES Seville 2018 are its book exhibition and the special film screenings. The former will take place from the 16th to the 20th of July in the Pier Paolo Pasolini Space in the Rectorate building of the University of Seville, which will become a meeting point for book sector professionals focusing on subjects concerning the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

The films will be screened in the cinema hall of the Three Cultures Foundation (more than 200 seats) and the auditorium of the Faculty of Philology. A selection of films distinguished at major Arab and Mediterranean film festivals will be shown, with a programme tailor-made for this occasion. It will combine award-winning productions from those festivals with a broad range of films and documentaries meant to showcase cultural diversity for the congress participants and the city of Seville.

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