Scientific Events
(Conferences, Workshops and Study Days)

“Tenth Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies”
5th – 7th March, 2024 Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait

Several researchers associated with CEFREPA participated in the International Symposium at Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait city on March 5, 6 and 7, 2024.

Panelists discussed different topics:

Eric Vallet (University of Strasbourg), “Words of Factionalism in Yemen (7th-9th/13th-15th centuries): Text mining into the Rasulid historiographical corpus”

Mehdi Berriah (Institut français du Proche-Orient), “References to early Islam in Mamluk jihad propaganda and the construction of the image of the mujāhid sultan”

Hassan Bouali (The French Research Centre of the Arabian Peninsula), “The Transmission of Early Islamic Knowledge and the Praise of Mecca during the Mamelouk Era : The case of Muḥibb al-Dīn al-Ṭabarī (d. 694/1295)”

Makram Abbès (The French Research Centre of the Arabian Peninsula), “Fâkihat al-Khulafâ’ by Ibn ‘Arabshâh: A mirror of princes from the Mamluk period”

"Paix et diplomatie à l’âge classique de l’Islam"
3 March 2024 at CEFREPA

The French Research Center of the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) organized a workshop entitled “Paix et diplomatie à l’âge classique de l’Islam” on March 3, 2024 with the participation of Makram Abbès (Cefrepa), Mehdi Berriah (Ifpo), Hassan Bouali (chercheur associé Cefrepa) and Hassan Chahdi (Université de Lorraine).

Bringing together historians, Islamologists and other specialists in Islam, this workshop aimed to be a contribution to the field of studies on peace in Islam which remains little explored and which offers numerous research perspectives. Resolutely multidisciplinary, the workshop aimed to study peace as an Islamic concept but also as a phenomenon in multiple dimensions that must be included in a context and its developments.

Seminar in Islamology
“The renewal of religious thought in Islam in contemporary times: new research perspectives in Islamology”

A new monthly seminar has recently been set up by Makram Abbes (Director du Cefrepa/Koweït) & Mehdi Berriah (Researcher Ifpo/Jérusalem).

This seminar aims to publicize the work of researchers in Islamic studies who, through their themes and approaches, contribute to the renewal of the field of study on Muslim thought from a perspective that is both diachronic (study of the doctrines of the past) and synchronic (theoretical positioning in relation to the writings of contemporary scholars). Organized by two Umifre-s (CEFREPA and IFPO) which cover 12 Arab countries, the seminar also aims to identify the voices of renewal of readings and interpretations, to make them known to the French and Western public, and to engage in a fruitful dialogue on common objects of study.

See the complete program:

Particular interest was paid to new theorizations of theological-religious concepts, to the analysis of the construction or deconstruction of the sacred as well as to specific questions which have been the subject of debate for several decades now (relationship between politic/religion, secularism, human rights, war and peace, veil, halal, etc.).

Many specialists working in Western or Arab-Muslim contexts were called upon to intervene on these subjects, as the issues addressed today have a global dimension, due to major mutations and global upheavals of a political, economic or technological nature which have affected Muslim societies and Muslim minorities in the West. These situations have led scholars and intellectuals to question their destiny, and to propose new approaches to the classical Islamic corpus in the light of today’s context, by increasingly integrating new tools from the human and social sciences. Various recent works relating to the founding texts as well as the facts of religion and society have sparked – and still spark – a number of debates, thus contributing to the renewal of contemporary Muslim thought. By making them known through this seminar and the exchanges it will generate, the public is able to glimpse new perspectives of research in the field of Muslim thought, and closely follow the intellectual dynamics at work in the different academic circles of the East and the West.

“Music and songs in Kuwait: Journey into the heart of Arab cultural heritage”
15 December 2023 in Paris

The CEFREPA in collaboration with INALCO & Kuwait University organized a conference entitled “Music and songs in Kuwait: Journey into the heart of Arab cultural heritage. This conference took place at INALCO – Auditorium Georges Dumézil 2 rue de Lille on 15 December 2023.

The symposium presented the main axes of research on Kuwaiti music. It studied Kuwaiti music from an anthropologic, musicological, and ethnolinguistic point of view. It especially focused on the relationships between Kuwaiti music and the main social evolutions that occurred in Kuwait during the 20th century. How Kuwaiti songs reflected the development of the Kuwaiti society? How can we study sung poetry in Kuwait, the text of the songs, from a linguistic point of view? How the tension between “ancient” and “modern” formed at linguistic and musical levels? What are the main contact phenomena between Kuwaiti music and the others Arabic countries, especially those of the Arabian Peninsula? How this precious immaterial heritage can contribute to a better knowledge of the Arabic language and culture?

Monument Exchanges / Kuwait City
21 November 2023 at CEFREPA

The French Research Center of the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) organized a workshop entitled “Monument Exchanges / Kuwait City” with Dr. Anahi Alviso-Marino on November 21, 2023 at CEFREPA.

This workshop was dedicated to generating collective knowledge about the city and public art through retracing stories about monuments and sculptural artworks in Kuwait City’s parks, roads, and roundabouts.

The participants worked with both maps and monuments—the latter understood as sculptural and architectural works created to commemorate events, generate landmarks, celebrate individual and collective figures, and/or embellish the city.

Cities and circulations: Challenging theoretical frameworks in Gulf histories and geographies
19 November 2023 at Kuwait University

The CEFREPA in collaboration with Kuwait University, Inalco, NCCL & Sciences Po organized a workshop entitled “Cities and circulations: Challenging theoretical frameworks in Gulf histories and geographies”. A working meeting followed by scientific sessions took place in Kuwait on 19 November 2023. This workshop will be followed by three-day conference on 29-31 May 2024 in Paris.

The closed working meeting was followed by a public scientific session with relevant stakeholders to describe the themes and goals of the workshop and the broader mission of building an interdisciplinary network of Gulf scholars that breaks academic, institutional, and research silos. The outcomes of the working meeting and scientific sessions in Kuwait will inform the three-day event in Paris that brings together dedicated Gulf scholars  around the six broad themes.

50 Years after the oil crisis
17 October 2023 at the Kuwait National Library.

The CEFREPA organized an International conference on “October 1973-October 2023. Fifty Years after the Oil Crisis”, followed by an original exhibition which retrace an important part of the contemporary history of the Middle East and the rest of the world from a local and global perspective.

Fifty years ago, the oil ministers of the OPEC Gulf States met in Kuwait to make a series of decisions which led to outcomes that are still shaping our world today.

On 16 October 1973, they decided to increase oil prices, thereby taking back the power of setting these prices from the American and European oil companies that were still exploiting the region’s oil fields.

On 17 October 1973, in response to the October War, the ministers of the Arab countries implemented an embargo on oil intended for countries allied to Israel.

Beyond its economic and geopolitical origins, this event was to have far-reaching consequences for the societies of the Gulf, which were modernizing at great speed, and would become after 50 years the nerve center of the Arab world and the major global players in the fields of energy and finance, as well as heritage and urban planning.

These scientific events shed light on the many discussions that surrounded the measures taken in Kuwait and their consequences for the development of the Gulf States. Bringing together key witnesses to the events of October 1973 and academic experts, they focus in particular on the economic, social and cultural effects of these decisions in the countries of the Middle East, and the way in which these decisions ushered in a new form of globalization that we are still experiencing today.

CEFREPA participated in Alula World Archeology Summit
14 September 2023 in Saudi Arabi, Alula

CEFREPA was present on the occasion of the holding of the Alula World Archeology Summit on September 14, 2023. Bringing together numerous specialists in archeology and heritage preservation, this World Summit constituted a strong moment of exchange and dialogue between researchers, experts and decision-makers around the crucial questions of knowledge of the past and its valorization.

In addition to many researchers associated with CEFREPA who were present during the Summit, the Director, Makram ABBES, participated in a panel entitled “Cross-pollination: How Can Archeology Support Interdisciplinary Innovation?”


« L’islamologie entre science et citoyenneté »
15 June 2023

CEFREPA represented by its director Makram Abbes participated on June 15, 2023 at the Grand Salon de la Sorbone in a study day of the French Institute of Islamology (IFI)

He spoke in a round table entitled “Islamology and Francophonie”.

Citizenship in the Arab World
30 April - 1 May 2023

Organized in partnership with Kuwait University (Department of Philosophy) on April 30 and May 1, 2023, the conference on “Citizenship in the Arab world” explores the concept of citizenship both in its individual and collective dimensions, as well as at the level of the political and legal practices it underlies. It also aimed to evaluate the experiences that Arab countries have had in this area in the 20th century and beyond, and puts into perspective the connections that these recent experiences have with, on the one hand, classical Arab political thought and, on the other hand, classical Arab political thought. On the other hand, European influences, notably the ideals of the Enlightenment and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen after the French Revolution.

Eminent researchers from several universities and well recognized in their fields of expertise were present at this international event to address these fascinating themes and present their point of view to an audience interested in the subject. The conference was organized over two days: the first took place at Kuwait University and brought together philosophers, political scientists and sociologists specializing in these themes. The second, which was held at CEFREPA, undertook a dialogue with Kuwaiti civil society actors, and reflected on ways to extend academic work on the subject through publications and subsequent events.

From Yemen to Kuwait
7 February 2023

The French Center for Research in the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) recently celebrated its 40th anniversary in the region, under the patronage of the French Ambassador H.E. Claire Le Flecher, and in the presence of several diplomats and academics.

The ceremony highlighted the center’s research into the ancient history of Kuwait, and the discoveries it made in this regard over the past many decades. During a press conference held on the occasion, Director of CEFREPA, Dr. Makram Abbas stated, “We are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our center, which was founded in Sana’a in 1982 by the famous French archaeologist Christian Robin.”

Global History of Kuwait
11 January 2023

Presentation of the book “Global History of Kuwait” published in three languages in cooperation with the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters and written by two French researchers Julie Boneric and Philippe Petriat who are associated with the French Research Center in the Arabian Peninsula CEFREPA.


Dynamiques récentes de la recherche et transformations des champs des savoirs dans la Péninsule Arabique
20 - 24 September 2022

Insaniyyat an international Humanities and Social Sciences Forum was be held in Tunis (September 20 to 24), bringing together more than 1300 researchers, academics and artists from 35 countries from the Maghrib, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and almost all other parts of the world.

Its three main objectives were : to provide a space for conversations between different academic traditions on current research and issues in the humanities and social sciences; to promote exchanges between academics, young researchers and artists from different linguistic spheres and cultures; and to defend the place of the humanities and social sciences in public life.

« La France et le Koweït, une amitié de plus de deux siècles »
29 May 2022

Kuwait witnessed an unprecedented cultural event, as the French Center for Research on the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) organized an exhibition titled “France and Kuwait, a friendship of more than two centuries” under the direction of the director of the Center, Dr. Makram Abbas.

The exhibition aimed to explore available documents and previously unpublished archives in order to show the depth of relations between the two countries, and to stimulate interest in studying and knowing them better.

The exhibition highlighted an enduring friendship that unfolds in several contexts and domains, encompassing not only political-military contacts (the Kuwait incident, the Gulf War), but also cultural influences (the art of fine jewelry; joint artistic exhibitions), scientific collaborations (archaeological excavations) or economic relations (the pearl trade). These different dimensions which were at the origin of numerous exchanges between the two countries were illustrated by panels in three languages ​​(French, Arabic and English) and by archive documents of different kinds (maps, texts, photographs, paintings or videos) which show the existence of a shared memory around strong moments and historical links which have been tainted by neither disorder nor conflict.

"From Islam in France to a French Islam? A short social history and contemporary issues of the Secular state's relationships with Muslims"
25 May 2022

The French Research Center of the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) organized two conferences with Cédric BAYLOCQ, the first: “From Islam in France to French Islam? A short social history and contemporary issues in the relations of the secular state with Muslims”, which was held on May 25, 2022 in English at the Kuwaiti Writers’ Association and the second: “Addressing the controversies on Islam in France in a Muslim context: some practical cases” which was held on May 26, 2022 in French at CEFREPA.

Dr. Cedric BAYLOCQ holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Bordeaux in France, is a professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris and a member of the French Research Center of the Institute of Political Studies of Bordeaux. He was appointed to several special administrative positions in the French Ministry of the Interior to support social research on contemporary Islam and Islamic studies in general. Then he obtained the position of advisor to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for North African and Middle Eastern affairs. Dr. BAYLOCQ is primarily interested in issues of Islam in France or French Islam and studies issues related to secularism, religious bodies in Islam, contemporary Islamic thought, Islamic movements and other relevant topics of its area of ​​expertise. The conference addressed several points, including the long history of historical relations between France and Islam, distinguished Muslim personalities in France and the emergence of a new page in the dialogue between the State and Muslims since 2015.



The french contribution to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 a first-hand recollection and a historian's reflection
17 May 2022

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Franco-Kuwaiti friendship, the French Research Center for the Arabian Peninsula (CEFREPA) invited Jean-Pierre Filiu to speak about the French contribution to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. The conference was held on May 17, 2022 in the amphitheater of the National Library of Kuwait.

Dr. Makram Abbas, Director of CEFREPA, welcomed all participants and introduced Jean-Pierre Filiu, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the Institute of International Affairs in Paris. Jean-Pierre Filiu has been a visiting professor at Columbia and Georgetown Universities, and his books, written in French or English, have been translated into more than fifteen languages, including Arabic. He has written more than twenty books on Arab countries, their political systems, the 2011 revolutions that shook the region and the issue of violence and human rights. He was a diplomat for two decades and actively participated in the French contribution to the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in 1991.

The conference addressed the French position on the invasion of Kuwait, emphasizing in particular that France had a strategic vision of the conflicts in the region very different from the American vision. Despite this, France was part of the coalition and contributed to the liberation of Kuwait through Operation Daguet in February 1991. Professor Filiu told the audience his memories as a diplomat and specialist in historical and geopolitical analysis, combining thus his personal and academic experience in his presentation of this important episode in the study of the history of the two countries.