Minutes of the

1st Meeting of Advisory Board of

Vienna International Institute on Middle East Studies (VIIMES)

The first Webinar of Members of the Advisory Board (Listed Below) was held at 16.00 on the 3rd March, 2022. As initially planned, the meeting had a principal aim to set up an annual agenda of the Institute, taking into account the collaborative proposals and considerations of the participants.

The meeting began by an introductory statement of Ambassador Dr. Aliasghar Soltanieh, the president of the VIIMES, followed by an opening speech of Ambassador Taous Feroukhi as the Chairperson of the Advisory Board. Other members also on their parts raised a number of significant issues, a summary of which is well- mentioned below: 


Ambassador Dr. Aliasghar Soltanieh

  • Compliments
  • Appreciating the audience for being a member of the Board as well as for their participation,
  • The initial role of the Institute, while elaborating its missions and vision(s),
  • Determining role of the Advisory Board and the need for holding annual meetings for agenda-setting.
  • Appealing the members to feel ownership with continuous contributions and interactions, sharing their guidance along with concrete proposals at any time,
  • Significance of Middle East as one of the most imminent issues in International Politics,
  • Touching upon the fact that the institute is an independent non-governmental body, which is going to be a platform for experts from all around the globe to express freely their political views,
  • The Institute is going to act actively in the area of producing research and developing policy issues for decision makers, making sure that they avoid further political miscalculations,
  • Hold regular talks, expert meetings and discussions so as to develop projects, thoughts and policies for the cause of prosperity of and peace in the region,
  • Since the Institute is non-governmental, efforts are extensively made to absorb budgets and receive pledges from individuals, institutions and international bodies, without losing its independence,
  • Laying emphasis on capacity-building and developing initiatives, taking use of a variety of top experts, apprentices, university students, etc.   
  • Inviting Ambassador Taous Feroukhi to act as the Chairperson of the Board and to deliver her statement.


Ambassador Taous Feroukhi   

  • Compliments,
  • Appreciating for being elected as Chairperson of the Advisory Board,
  • Highlighting the significance of Vienna, for being selected for the establishment of the VIIMES,
  • Pointing out rich academic as well as diplomatic background of the Advisory Board Members as an asset for realizing the VIIMES’ aims and objectives.
  • Laying emphasis on scientific capacity of the Board Members to guide VIIMES to conduct qualitative research on the Middle East region,
  • Role of political, socio-economic and cultural similarities for bridging gaps and/or developing cooperation between and among the regional countries,
  • Asking all members of the Board to offer their proposals for the VIIMES future program framework based on research, studies, round tables, seminars, and meetings,
  • Asking all distinguished members of the Board to come up with concrete proposals within at least a month in a bid to operationalize the Institute for this year and a year after,
  • The need to define an approach from the very beginning towards the Middle East and the fact that how one could attract various interest groups and experts, taking into account various levels and complexities of the region.


Minister Dr. Werner Fasslabend

  • Compliments,
  • Appreciating the initiative of the establishment of the Institute
  • Significance of the Middle East and the need for establishing a strong link between Vienna and the regional countries for a good reason of promoting peace, stability, and security,
  • The significance of linking experts and key professionals to develop profound analysis and research on the Middle East region,
  • Pointing out current and future capacity and potentials of the Advisory Board,
  • Expressing hope for a Middle East region free of WMD, insecurity and tension.
  • The goal of the VIIMES needs to be highlighted as we support fact-based discussion on the Middle East,
  • As a 2nd proposal, it needs to be reiterated that the Institute should be regarded as a meeting center for competence.
  • The 3rd goal could be considered that the institute should address the common challenges such as energy, water shortage, climate change, etc. and how the region could cope with those challenges,  


Ambassador Wael Nasser Eddin AL Assad

  • Compliments,
  • A dire need to address not only Middle East but also those international issues that affect that region.
  • Analyzing key reasons why the region is always late in responding to International issues,
  • To encourage the Middle Eastern diplomats to further engage in scientific and research activities and more actively cooperate with Think-Tanks and research Institutes,
  • It would be good to know more of the capacity and financial status of the Institute so that we can better plan on various levels,
  • Propose to gather young diplomats and experts from the Middle East to raise their voice, and give them a change to be heard,
  • Advised to take into account all existing narratives and to verify them so as to find out their genuineness and authenticity, while we discuss various issues about the Middle East,


Professor J. Martin Ramirez

  • Compliments,
  • Significance of establishment of such Institutes to address both current and emerging issues in the Middle East and beyond,
  • Stressing the need to address conflict resolution and dispute settlement between and among the regional countries,
  • Expressing hope to set a well-structured agenda with collaboration of all members of the Board,


Prof. Dr. Heinz Gärtner

  • Compliments,
  • Significance of establishment of VIIMES due to research gap on Middle East, despite the fact that there are many excellent research institutes and Think-Tanks,
  • The need for further regional focus by the Institute,
  • Point out that Austria is an excellent home for international institutions to address a number of politically important issues ranging from JCPOA to Ukraine, etc., which is a true example of multilateralism,
  • Congratulation for running the Institute.


Dr. Ayman KHALIL

  • Due to technical problem, he was NOT able to connect. However after the meeting he communicated via telephone with the president of the VIIMES, expressing regret for problem in zoom connection, congratulated the establishment of the VIIMES, and informed that he heard all comments by members and shared the views. Dr. Khalil wished to be able to actively participate at next meeting of the Advisory Board.




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