The LSE IDEAS Southern Europe International Affairs Programme (SEIAP) is one of the leading programmes for the advanced study of the recent history and politics of Southern Europe. The aim of the SEIAP is to investigate how the contemporary political, economic and social features of the Southern European region have been shaped. As an interdisciplinary initiative, SEIAP is made up of historians, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists and economists. Their interests include exploring interactions in domestic, regional and international events and developments that have had wide-lasting impact on Southern Europe, especially during the following periods: Early Cold War; Southern European dictatorships during detente; Democratic Transition and Consolidation; European Integration up to Post - Cold War. The Programme seeks to study Southern Europe in its geographical, historical and cultural entirety. It seeks to promote a comprehensive and collaborative academic and practitioners’ approach in order to reach a better understanding of the region’s political and socio-economic structures, developments and short-term issues and long-term trajectories.
The Classical Age of Southern Europe fostered the development of Western civilization. The region gave birth to cultures and great empires that spanned continents. Its sea, the Mediterranean, provided setting for the first large scale trading, commercial networks and supranational enterprises. Yet, in the recent past and even to the present day, it has gained notoriety as the troubled and chronically ailing underbelly of Europe. Southern Europe, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is often not perceived as a region of shared values, legacies and issues. Despite common strife, it still struggles to find a regional voice and a common approach. Ironically, individual countries of Southern Europe are often seen as being closer to the European Centre or North than to their regional neighbours.
Among other things, the Programme will seek to identify and address numerous issues that define contemporary Southern Europe. We aim to understand the complexity and depth of what is has been called the ‘Crisis of Southern Europe’. For example ‘ The Euro Crisis in the Press’ is a SEIAP group that investigates the way the crisis is covered in the press across the Eurozone. There exists also, a void in the comparative study of sub regions and countries that belong to Southern Europe. SEIAP aims to initiate and support a critical analysis of the issues that each country faces and define common responses or outlooks, wherever possible. In this respect, the Programme is inclusive of the Balkan region as an often overlooked and unrecognized sub region of Southern Europe. The Balkan Initiative within the SEIAP will continue to promote the study of the Balkans within its own, idiosyncratic format, as well as within a wider Southern European environment to which it belongs.
The SEIAP’s remit and activities will concentrate on: promoting and publishing research; establishing an interdisciplinary centre for knowledge exchange for all LSE research which relates to Southern Europe; undertaking fundraising from Research Councils to underpin its research activities and establishing a number of fellowships for PhD students and for post-doctoral research. It aims also, at continuing with its very successful workshop series; instituting an annual conference with its partner institutions, held in London every second year (rotating with Athens, Lisbon, Madrid and Rome) and producing a series of Special Reports. The SEIAP will focus on creating a worldwide network of established experts on the region and include early career researchers pursuing innovative, impactful and convention-challenging research in the fields of security, foreign policy, energy, immigration, terrorism and defence.