Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East

The Concept

The some 25 countries of origin of Orchestra members

The Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East (APOME) is a classical Track-II initiative aimed at shaping the Middle East Conference on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles in the Middle East. The Orchestra was established in 2010 and is coordinated by Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig and his team at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). The underlying assumption is that enhancing cooperation among experts is a needed first step in overcoming misunderstandings and tensions which are so common in the Middle East.

We have introduced the Orchestra metaphor in order to demonstrate the character of "academically playing" within our project, i.e. of thinking jointly at our conferences and writing jointly Policy Briefs. The great model for the Academic Peace Orchestra is of course Maestro Daniel Barenboim’s "West-Eastern Divan Orchestra" and his efforts towards peace.

The Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East consists of some 70 experts, mainly from the Middle East and with a wide range of expertise. The Orchestra meets approximately three times a year and divides its work in smaller working groups, or Chamber Orchestra Units. They address specific themes related to the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. While arms control issues are obviously important, the Orchestra focuses also on broader political problématiques and their repercussions on Middle Eastern security.

The experts of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East develop ideas and concepts as well as provide background information in a series of Policy Briefs. The whole series is meant to comprise approximately 40 Policy Briefs in the period 2011–2014 with the largest possible collection of views. Addressees of the Policy Briefs are high-ranking decision makers in the Middle East, diplomats and international media.

The Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East builds on the previous project Multilateral Study Group on the Establishment of a Missile Free Zone in the Middle East/Gulf, which conducted seven conferences between 2007 and 2010. The project’s outcome was published by Routledge in 2012 under the title: "Arms Control and Missile proliferation in the Middle East". This jointly written endeavor, including 39 authors, contributes to the discussion of the role that delivery vehicles – and more precisely missiles – could play in arms control efforts in the Middle East.