The Ideaz Institute Vienna and its Collaboration with the Civitas Institute in Gaza, Palestine

September 13, 2016

Johannes Maerk & Maher Issa (Via Skype)

Tuesday, September 13, 10:00AM–12:00PM, Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities, School for International StudiesCentre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures, & Department of Sociology and Anthropology

This talk gives an overview of the Ideaz Institute Vienna, its programs (applied research in the Middle East and Latin America and training courses in Vienna), and the project it is currently developing under the leadership of the Civitas Institute Gaza together with organizations in Sweden, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya: Civitas Academy––a school for civil society leaders in the Arab World. Maher Issa, Director General of Civitas Institute, will join this talk via Skype from Gaza to give insights into the current political and socioeconomic affairs in Gaza, in general, and the Civitas Academy, in particular.


Johannes Maerk, PhD. University of Innsbruck Austria (Political Philosophy), is the Director of the Viennese Ideaz Institute, Lecturer at the University of Vienna, and Professor at the University of Quintana Roo, Mexico (leave of absence). He also had research and teaching appointments at National University of Mexico (UNAM), Simon Fraser University/Vancouver, the University of the West Indies/Jamaica, State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)/Brazil, and Warsaw University/Poland. His research interests are non-western and comparative social sciences (political thought, IR), epistemology, South-South relations, and development issues. He currently has research projects in Latin America and the Middle East. Among his publications are the edited volumes “Existe una epistemologia latinoamericana” and “Cómo democratizar la democracia,” as well as articles about political thought in Latin America and Canada, Red Vienna, and other topics related to his research interests.

Maher Issa is a professional with more than 22 years of hands-on experience in training, capacity and institutional building, and consulting. He has a strong background in management and leadership, having been a programme manager at the Gaza based National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the director of theGeneral Union of Cultural Centers (GUCC). Mr. Issa, currently is the director of the Civitas Institute in Gaza, where he is the founder and the responsible person for management of the organization, and he is a co-founder of Civitas Academy as a trans-Mediterranean organization towards leadership and democracy. He has received a diploma in Islamic and Middle East studies in 1984, his BA in Sciences at the Islamic University Gaza in 1990, and completed his MA in Political Sciences at Al-Azhar University, Gaza, in 2008, while joining the Ph. D. to study “role of funding on policies”. Mr. Issa is a civil society activist who has wide and extensive knowledge on civic participation, community mobilization, and peacebuilding, where he recently joined the EU teams to update and produce the Mapping on Palestinian civil society to be based for the EU and other member states road map in cooperation with Palestine.