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N°33 I quarterly I APRIL 2014 CNRS Networks | 37 And more news... Damas (IFEAD, founded in 1922), the Institut français d’archéologie du Proche-Orient (IFAPO, created in 1946), and the Centre d’études et de recherches sur le Moyen-Orient contemporain (CERMOC, established in 1977). “It combines three assets: historical depth, interdisciplinarity, and the ability to undertake comparative studies,” says Kienle. The Institute also comprises three scientific departments. Directed by Frédéric Alpi, the Department of Archaeology and History of Antiquity is renowned worldwide for the quality of its studies on the Ancient and Classical Orient. Although the Syrian conflict interrupted excavations at the Mesopotamian cities of Ugarit and Mari, the scientists—who were able to safeguard their equipment and findings—are pursuing their work through various collaborations. These include campaigns in Petra and Jerash, in Jordan, and Tyr, Tell Arqa, and Beirut in Lebanon. The researchers are also due to launch an operation in Palestine at the Tomb of the Kings of Adiabene, a dynasty of sovereigns who, in some cases such as that of Queen Helena, are thought to have converted to Judaism in the second century. The Department of Arabic, Medieval and Modern Studies, headed by Bruno Paoli, actively conducts research on Arabic literature and history and thus on “social stratification and divisions in towns in the Middle Ages.” Its projects include a wide-scale excavation program at the site of the 16th century Doubieh fortress in Lebanon, in partnership with the Lebanese DGA. Lastly, the Department of Contemporary Studies, whose activities are steadily growing, is the descendant of the CERMOC. The latter was home to CNRS researcher Michel Seurat, who was taken hostage in Beirut in 1985 and died in tragic circumstances, as commemorated by a plaque placed on the façade of the building. The Department continues to study the transformation of Middle Eastern societies from a political mobilization perspective, explains director Myriam Catusse, although its scope has considerably widened. It now largely focuses on working environments, consumption patterns, property and informal housing in the region’s large cities, while also looking at broader issues related to political science, economics, and geopolitics. For instance, since September 2013, the Ifpo has been involved in an important program called “When Authoritarianism Fails in the Arab World” (WAFAW), headed by its former director, François Burgat. Supported by the European Research Council, its goal is to study the new political line-up that has emerged in the region in the wake of the Arab revolutions. Understanding the past, however distant, to explain today’s events is precisely one of the Ifpo’s key missions. 01. Unités mixtes des Instituts français de recherche à l’étranger. Contact information: Ifpo, Beirut. Isabelle Mermet-Guyennet > i.mermet@ifporient.org chile i Joint Research on Marine Algae W The French-Chilean International Joint Unit (UMI) EBEA—for Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Algae—was launched on March 17, 2014. Its purpose is to document the biodiversity of marine algae and understand the ecological and evolutionary constraints on their adaptation. Associating the CNRS and the French UPMC1 with two Chilean universities,2 it will be based at the Roscoff biological station in Brittany (France) with a mirror site in each Chilean partner university. The EBEA will focus on three main algae-related research areas: evolution of sexual reproduction and its consequences; ecological and evolutionary aspects of speciation and adaptation; and domestication, genetic resource management, and environmental impact in relation to human activity. The third structured cooperation of this type between France and Chile, the EBEA is based on strong scientific collaborations dating back to 1997. It will have a permanent staff of ten, comprising six PhD students and four postdoctoral fellows. The UMI will also involve researchers visiting and holding classes in marine biology and biodiversity at all participating universities. 01. Université Pierre et Marie Curie. 02. P ontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUCCh) and the Southern University of Chile (UACh). australia i New Exchange Program w A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on March 19 between the CNRS and the University of Melbourne (Australia). It includes the creation of a visitor researcher program that will fund three projects annually over a four-year period. One of these will be allocated $AUD 10,000 (€6500), while the other two will receive $AUD 5000 (€3500) each. A call for proposals has already been launched ending on April 30, 2014. This initiative is expected to enable researchers from both organizations to identify, initiate, and/or develop collaborative research activities. © C. Des tombe/SBR q Scientists study Laminaria seaweed off the coast of Brittany (France).


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