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Activités : Colloque inaugural 2005-2006

Iceland and Lebanon : Antipodes of the EU

Beirut, September 30, October 1 and 2 2005

!! Read articles about the conference >> [Daily Star, by Rym Ghazal] - [Magazine] - [An Nahar]

The topic of the seminar is unusual, but the idea emerged from the realisation, in an encounter with distinguished Icelandic colleagues in Vienna last year, of how little both the people of Iceland and Lebanon knew about each other, at a time when they find themselves on the diametrically opposed sides of the EU and much affected by its emergence.

So the first objective of the conference is to allow Lebanese to meet colleagues "at the antipodes", hear about Iceland and benefit from the experience of a remarkably civil country and people. Discovering the contrasts between our two societies would probably be most beneficial, but we also think that there is a commonalty deriving from the need for small populations and territories to adapt to the emergence of a huge and unprecedented construction which is the EU.

HH Judge Prof David Thor Björgvinsson and Prof. Chibli Mallat will chair the discussions. The presentations and discussions will take place in English and French.



30 September 2005- 18h00

Inaugural 2005 lecture of the CEUE and of Amnesty International
ME Regional Office
Building of the Faculty of law, USJ

Chair: Prof. René Chamussy s.j., Rector, USJ

[Speech available in full lenght

-> French (PDF) - English (PDF) - Arabic (PDF)


The Icelandic constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights
HH Judge Prof David Thor Björgvinsson , Judge, European Court of Human Rights



1 October 2005-
Morning- Discovering each other

The first half day will include a general and mutual discovery of each other's country and society.

1. Iceland presented from Iceland : Iceland in global affairs, or what features determine the size of states?
Prof. Baldur Thorhallsson, U. of Iceland

2. Iceland as seen from Lebanon
Prof. Elias Khouri, NYU and Beirut

3. Lebanon presented from Lebanon
Prof. Roland Tomb, USJ

4. Lebanon as seen from Iceland
Prof Gudmundur Hálfdanarson, U. of Iceland

1 October 2005- Afternoon, Rule of law in Iceland and Lebanon

The second half day will focus on the legal-political structures within each country, with a special attention given to the protection of democracy and the transparency and dynamism of the economy.

5. Rule of law and the economy in Iceland : experience and constraints.
Prof. Olafur Isleifsson, U. of Iceland

6. L'accord d'association Liban - UE: avancée lente mais sûre
Dr Georges Saad, Lebanese University

7. Protecting and enhancing democracy: comparativism of small states
Alexander Stutzmann, European Parliament

2 October 2005- Morning, The EU and its antipodes, an application of the proximity policy

The third and final half day will address the issue of the EU with contrastive visions

8. Iceland and the EU: Why is Iceland not a member ?
David Thor Björgvinsson

8a. Comment from Scandinavia , HE Ambassador Svein Sevje

9. Lebanon and the EU: the Association agreement
Roger Melki, Consultant and Professor, USJ

9a Comment from another Arab/Mideastern country
Sadeq Jalal al-Azm, Prof. U of Damascus (a confirmer)

10. The EU politics of proximity, Iceland , Lebanon and vice-versa- Roundtable discussion


A brief note on the speakers

Professor René Chamussy, s.j. is Rector of Saint-Joseph's University, sociologist and historian.

HH Professor Judge David Thor Björgvinsson, Judge, European Court of Human Rights, and a former professor of law at University of Iceland and Reykjavik University School of Law . He is a specialist of legal/constitutional aspects of European Integration from the point of view of Iceland . Co-chair of conference

Dr. Baldur Thorhallsson, associate professor of Political Science, University of Iceland, Faculty of Social Science. Expert of the role of small states in the international community, and of the position of Iceland in relation to the Union and European integration.

Elias Khouri is an internationally renowned novelist, and lives between Beirut , where he edits the prestigious weekly supplement of the daily al-Nahar , and New York , where he is Professor at NYU.

Prof. Roland Tomb, Faculty of Medicine, USJ, heads its dermatology service. A specialist of ancient Levantine languages and theology, he has been preparing a book introducing Lebanon to the educated reader.

Professor Dr. Gudmundur Hálfdanarson, University of Iceland , Faculty of Arts. Expert on Iceland 's struggle for independence and in particular the role of and the idea of sovereignty in that respect and the development of that idea and its significance in relation to the European integration.

Dr Prof Olafur Isleifsson teaches at Reykjavik University , School of Business . .

Dr Georges Saad teaches at the Faculty of law, Lebanese University . He established and presides over the Lebanese Association for the Philosophy of Law.

Alexander Stutzmann is the Administrator of the Foreign Affairs Commission, European Parliament

HE Ambassador Svein Sevje, ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Lebanon and Syria .

Roger Melki is a partner art Etudes et Consultations Economiques-ECE, Beirut , and teaches at the Strategic Studies Centre at USJ.

Sadeq Jalal al-Azm is Emeritus Professor, Damascus U. , presently professor at Princeton .

Chibli Mallat is principal, Mallat law offices, and EU Jean Monnet Professor in law, USJ, and director of the Centre of the Study of the European Union, USJ. Convenor and Co-chair of conference.

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© 2004 - Centre d'études sur l'Union européenne - Chaire Jean Monnet
Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth - Liban
Tous droits réservés - ceue@usj.edu.lb
Réalisé par le Service des publications et de la communication - USJ