This blog was created in support of DiverCities: Contested Space and Urban Identities in Beirut, Cairo and Tehran, an international conference organized jointly by the Goethe-Institut Beirut and the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) taking place in Beirut from 12 to 14 December 2013. The aim of this conference is to gain insights into experiences of urban governance as it is perceived and practiced by different social agents in view of the ambivalence of public space in diverse societies. It revolves around power dynamics over contested spaces, negotiations between state agents, corporations/private-interest groups and populations over the quality and use of urban spaces, delineations of public and private, and norms and practices of open air spaces of gathering. While initially created as a platform for the December 2013 conference, it is envisaged to remain a tool for exchange and debate on contested spaces in diverse cities with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Transregional comparatives beyond the region are also encouraged.

About the Goethe-Institut Beirut:
The Goethe-Institut Lebanon organizes and supports a broad spectrum of cultural events that present German culture and promote international cultural exchange. The work of our language department concentrates on training workshops and seminars for teachers of German as a foreign language. It also offers a comprehensive examination program. See http://www.goethe.de/ins/lb/bei for more.

About the Orient-Institut Beirut:
The Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) is a non-profit German academic research institute based in Beirut. It conducts and supports historical and contemporary research of the Arab world in the realm of the humanities and social sciences. The emphasis given to the systematic study of primary sources, regional agents and affairs provides a common conceptual framework. See www.orient-institut.org for more, or our blog Mish Ma32ool at oib.hypotheses.org.