Middle East Symposium

On Thursday, April 20th 2017, students from across Santa Fe will gather at Santa Fe Prep to take part in the Middle East Symposium. Following successful registration for the Symposium, individual students will be assigned to the policy team of a particular global leader.


In the lead-up to the Symposium, students will prepare essential background information about that leader’s position related to this urgent event:

There are around 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey who have fled the conflict in their country, making Turkey the country with the largest refugee population in the world. So far, Turkey has been comparatively generous in integrating refugee population, granting citizenship and free primary healthcare.

Scenario: In mid-April, 2017, riots begin to erupt across Turkey over competition for resources–with many calling the needs and demands of the absorbed refugee population “unsustainable.” Meanwhile, the referendum granting President Ergodan new, sweeping powers was closer than Erdogan would have liked. The European Union strongly condemns Erdogan’s referendum as anti-democratic and threatens to cut funding to Turkey, which to date totals €588 million. Angry with the EU, and concerned over his hold on power, in a stunning move Erdogan decides to expel the refugee population, knowing they will flood into Europe.

In response to the resultant humanitarian crisis, yesterday the EU compelled its member countries to systematically absorb the dismissed refugees. Member countries must now establish camps to receive, process, and provide services to displaced Syrians, with an eye to eventual resettlement and integration into respective EU host countries (e.g. through language instruction, cultural classes, job training, etc.).

Some Middle Eastern countries have had their EU funding cut due to the financial needs associated with this humanitarian crisis. Demands on US aid to the region have increased and Russia has closed all borders. Major global leaders and actors must now consider their position in regards to three interconnected sets of policies:

  • A formal political response to Turkey in light of this refugee expulsion
  • A formal position re the humanitarian crisis to the citizens of their own country
  • A formal position as a member of the European Union.

There will be several Middle East experts in attendance to mentor the students–one will be Nader Hashemi (information on him here and here), who will speak to CIR’s members later in the day. And there will be a second, curveball scenario during the day……

Register for the Middle East Symposium here:


More details coming soon!