The Westphalia for the Middle East project asks the central question: what lessons can be learned from the way the Thirty Years War was ended in Germany— in order to promote peace in the Middle East now? Of course, the world was a rather different place 400 years ago. But the project’s conveners argue that the analytical justification of using a peace settlement from early modern Europe, as a source of inspiration for a new peace settlement in the Middle East now – is the remarkable set of parallels between the two contexts. In light of these parallels it makes sense to look at how the Thirty Years War was ended in the 1640s in order to draw lessons for the Middle East.
Importantly, these lessons are intended to serve as a series of inspirations for a possible new peace settlement in the Middle East; not by imposing an external Eurocentric model— but rather by trying to encourage a settlement reached by local actors themselves with the help of a set of mechanisms and techniques that proved effective in the historical experience.
Much of the groundwork has already been completed during the project’s earlier phases, the results of which have recently been published in a book (Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East, Hurst Publishers, 2018). The next phase of the project moves the project towards a more explicitly applicatory direction, while still drawing heavily on the German historical experience as a source of lessons, warnings, and inspirations. The planned workshops will bring together historians of early modern Germany with policy-practitioners, diplomats, and experts on the Middle East in a forum that offers a creative, innovative approach to policy thinking in relation to the Middle East, and to the present-day applications of precedents from German history.