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EuroMeSCo General Assembly for 2017 was held in Barcelona on May 31st. and discussed the work plan to strengthen the reactivity and visibility of the network. Now there are 106 institutes from 43 countries participating in the activities. As one of the institutes initiating the EuroMeSCo, Turkish Foreign Policy Institute participates at the General Assembly meetings. This time Ambassador (Rtd.) Oktay Aksoy, Board Member of the Institute, followed the deliberations. Applications for new members was also discussed and among some others. PODEM (Center for Public Policy and Democracy Studies) from Turkey was admitted as observer. Prof. James McGann from the University of Pennsylvania (US) addressed the participants at the end of the General Assembly on the power and potential of think tanks in encountering the violent extremism currently prevelant. During the dinner a former Foreign Minister of Spain Josep Pique, now the President of the Toledo International Center for Peace addressed the group relating his views on the rearangement of the international order since the end of the Cold War and emergance of new power centers. On the side of the General Asseembly, a youth forum with participants from several regional countries was also held to initiate closer interest in regional issues for young researchers.
The Annual Conference focused on “confronting violent extremism in the Euro-Med region”. The threats encountered in the region and the responses envisaged was thoroughly discussed. Moreover, there were Working Group Sessions on transformation in Tunusia, on the future of Syria, on migration challenges as well as kick off meetings for the new sets of Working Packages to be tackled during the 2018 Conference. These included “Sahel and security in the Mediterranean”, “New Euro-Med Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean” and also “minorities in the Middle Est and North Africa”. The future of Syria was prepared with meetings of experts in Turkey and the new dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean focuses on the hydrocarbon finds and its impact on relations in that region including solution to the Cyprus problem.