University research team attends Med Studies Conference in Italy

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A team from the University of Gibraltar was in Sorrento, Italy last week to host a panel session on Gibraltar.

Dr Jennifer Ballantine Perera, Director of the University’s Institute of Gibraltar & Mediterranean Studies, together with Dr Darren Fa, the University’s Director of Research and Partnerships, were invited by the organisers of the Mediterranean Studies Association (MSA) Annual Conference to host a panel session specifically on Gibraltar. Joining them were fellow Gibraltarian Dr David Alvarez, currently at Grand Valley State University, USA and Dr Edwige Tamalet Talbayev, of Tulane University, also from the USA.

The MSA is an interdisciplinary organisation which promotes the scholarly study of the Mediterranean region in all aspects and disciplines. It is particularly concerned with the ideas and ideals of Mediterranean cultures from antiquity to the present and their influence beyond these geographical and temporal boundaries.

Dr Alvarez presented a paper on Gibraltar in relation to Franco Cassano’s ‘Southern Thought’, Dr Ballantine Perera spoke about the mutability of Gibraltar in the light of colonial literary representation, Dr Tamalet presented work on Gibraltar and the Maghreb in the literary imaginaries of the Strait, and Dr Fa gave a presentation on the development of the Gibraltar Fortress and its effect on the evolution of the population of Gibraltar. The Gibraltar panel session generated significant interest and was very well received.

The University of Gibraltar has been developing its relationship with the MSA, since last year. This has resulted in the University being selected as the host and co-organiser of the 2020 MSA conference. The MSA is an established and respected US academic organisation based at Massachusetts Dartmouth University, with wide outreach within the USA and key European Universities.

During their visit Drs Fa and Ballantine-Perera also took the opportunity to engage with other higher education providers, particularly from the USA, and are currently exploring potential academic partnerships with a view to future study abroad opportunities in Gibraltar.

The University of Gibraltar will hold the presidency of the MSA conference as from June 2019.