The role of Cyprus as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East has been a constant pursuit of Cypriot foreign policy under successive governments. During the last decade, Cyprus has managed to significantly strengthen its role in the wider region, through a series of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation schemes.
This new regional policy has already led to mutually beneficial agreements between Cyprus and countries within the region, in a significant number of sectors, from trade and tourism, to energy, the environment, security and defence. Above all, however, it has laid the foundations for a more outward-looking Cypriot policy, which highlights the comparative advantages of Cyprus in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, highlighting the stabilising role that Cyprus can play as a pillar of security, peace and cooperation.
Nevertheless, this new reality does not have the ability to monitor and analyse what is happening in the wider region. First of all, us Cypriots in general, have limited knowledge about our neighbouring countries. At a strategic level, however, the mechanisms and institutions that will constantly study and analyse regional and internal developments in the countries of the region have not yet been formed. Concerning universities and research centers, no substantial moves have yet been recorded in this direction, nor have networks of cooperation with corresponding academic-research institutions been developed, or at least as far as one would expect.
Cyprus, and taking advantage of its status as the closest Member State of the European Union to the region, should create the conditions so that it becomes a regional hub for information and analysis on what is happening in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Knowledge translates into power and Cyprus can develop soft power policies if it allocates the appropriate resources required so that it gradually acquires "specialization" in everything that concerns in its wider region.
The EastMed and Mideast Observatory aims at highlighting the importance of being able to monitor and analyze what is happening, both at a regional level between states and at a national level within states.
In order to promote this objective, the Observatory will, first of all, provide the possibility of direct access to information concerning the countries of the region, which will be constantly updated and enriched, including comparative analysis data in a number of thematic units, after being processed, by the Observatory's associates.
The Observatory will also provide immediate notification of important developments recorded in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, while maintaining a "bank" of selected articles, which will include any important publications at a scientific level, as far as the wider region is concerned.
On a secondary level, the Observatory will publish in English, on a quarterly basis, a specialized analysis paper entitled ISPD Report on EastMed & Mideast (click here), which will host articles and political analysis texts by specialized associates of the Institute.
The Observatory will also have the capacity to contribute to the preparation of research projects carried out through the Institute, as well as to conduct relevant activities, such as lectures and conferences.