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How the Conflict in the Middle East Affects Academia

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CMES researcher Nina Gren and CMES affiliated researcher Isabell Schierenbeck have been interviewed in Universitetsläraren about how the conflict between Israel and Hamas affects academia.

The article "Mellanösternkonflikt slår mot akademin" (English translation: "The Conflict in the Middle East Affects Academia") was written by Linus Hellerstedt and published in Universitetsläraren. Below are some excerpts from the article translated into English

Read the article (in Swedish)

Several universities in Israel have more or less closed after Hamas attacked the country on 7 October. In some places due to teachers and students having lost their lives. Sapir Academic College, located in Sderot close to Gaza's northern border, is affiliated to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

– At the moment, there is no plan at all at Sapir Academic College to get things back on track. Teachers and students have been killed in the attacks. They don't know how to proceed, says Isabell Schierenbeck.

– If there is a prolonged escalation of the conflict, it can have a long-term impact on Israeli academia. Many people, both students and teachers, are mobilised. Should there be a major war, the country will not be able to function while it is going on. But it is too early to say, says Isabell Schierenbeck.

As Israel responded to Hamas attacks, the University of Gaza was bombed, according to international news agencies. Researcher Nina Gren has been in touch with Palestinian colleagues, and they are worried - which probably affects both their research and teaching. 

– My Palestinian colleagues are quite hardened and don't usually raise these kinds of concerns. But right now, there's no pretence about the situation, says Nina Gren.

– In Gaza, it is probably impossible to teach at the moment. Even in the West Bank, there are some closures and Israeli roadblocks, which can make it difficult to get to the universities. With the massive destruction seen in Gaza, it is clear that schools and education are already being affected. This will also affect higher education in the long run, says Nina Gren.