Fifth Finnish Colloquium of Middle East and North African Studies, 29.–31.5.

29.5.2017 - 31.5.2017

Event description

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The theme for the multidisciplinary conference is “Transformations of Identity and Space in the Middle East and North Africa”. Proposed papers are encouraged to explore present and past approaches to the main theme of the conference from all fields and disciplines of the Middle East, North African and Mediterranean studies. Selected papers of the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

The colloquium is organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME), the University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Theology, and the University of Helsinki, including the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions. The event will be held at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu, Finland on 29–31 May 2017.

The period for abstract submission has ended. See the call for papers here.

Conference Venue
Keynote Speakers
Additional Programme
Conference Publication
Eating and Restaurants
Useful Information



We welcome participants also without a paper. For those participants the registration is open until May 15th. Registration for participants giving a presentation has ended.

Please send a registration e-mail to paivi.miettunen(at) with the following information:

Last name:
First name:

The conference registration fee of €50 (€20 for students) is to be paid to the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East.

IBAN: FI98 8000 1870 2088 58

Please note: The registration fee does not include accommodation.

Conference Venue

Agora building, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

The map view
UEF Campus info

Keynote Speakers

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Youssef M. Choueiri, Professor of Modern Arab & Middle Eastern History at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies: “The Elusive Presence of Arab Identity

Lena Roos, Associate Professor of History of Religions at the Department of Theology, Uppsala University: “Majority Judaism. A revised view of Judaism in the MENA region

Martin Tamcke, Director and Professor at the Department of Ecumenical and Inter-Cultural Theology and Oriental Church- and Mission History at Goettingen University: “Christians in the Middle East

See recordings of the keynote lectures here.


Colloquium Programme

Additional Programme

Monday 29 May

Guided tour to Carelicum, Koskikatu 5. Departure from Agora after the last sessions, ca. 17:45 and a walk to the center (about 15 minutes). Registration to the tour at the colloquium info desk.
Carelicum is a museum and culture center, with exhibitions displaying culture and history of North Karelia.

Tuesday 30 May

Book launching event (In Finnish), Agora Cafeteria, at 17:00.
Presenting the new book about Syria by Ari Kerkkänen.

Concert at the church of the Orthodox Seminary (Torikatu 41) at 19:00. Departure from Agora at 18:30 and a walk to the church (about 25 minutes). The concert presents different musical traditions of the Byzantine Orthodox Church, beginning from the most ancient Byzantine melodies and reaching Caucasian Georgian and Russian early polyphony. Ensemble Psaltikon, directed by Fr Damaskinos of Xenophontos, is a vocal group located in Joensuu and dedicated to the promotion of early Orthodox chant traditions up until the 17th century. (Free entrance: donations are welcome)

Conference Publication

There will be two possibilities to publish papers on the basis of presentations given at the conference.
– Selected papers will be published as a special issue of the peer reviewed e-journal Approaching Religion, number 2/2018, which is published by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History. You find the journal website at:
– Papers based on conference presentations are also welcomed to the peer reviewed e-journal Studia Orientalia Electronica:


Participants will book and pay their accommodation themselves. However, Joensuu is a compact city and there are various alternatives of hotels and hostels near the event venue, Agora building at the University of Eastern Finland. The four alternatives presented here offer reduced prices for the participants of colloquium, and are therefore recommended. Prices are always for one room per night. Remember to present the colloquium campaign code or the event’s name while making the reservation.

See more information on the accommodation options here.

Eating and Restaurants

There are several campus restaurants in Joensuu. You can find more information about them here.

More restaurants can easily be found here.


Joensuu is located in Eastern Finland, appr. 440 km NE from Helsinki. The Finnish Lakeland, to which Joensuu also belongs, is a beautiful region for all nature lovers to explore. More information about local attractions, including the Koli national park, can be found at In Finland, Joensuu is reachable by plane, car, train or bus. From abroad, you can travel by air via Helsinki.

By plane

Finnair operates flights between the two cities five times a day. The flight time is appr. one hour, and prices start from 80 euros. You may find the best deals by booking the flight separately, instead of searching for a direct connection from abroad. Public buses connect Joensuu airport to the city centre.
Joensuu airport:

By train

Train trip from Helsinki to Joensuu takes appr. 4,5 hours. Tickets cost around 45 euros. When traveling from the airport, take the commuter train P from the terminal to Tikkurila/Dickursby station for transfer to the long-distance train.

Finnish State Railways:

By bus

For the most economic option, there are also several buses running between Helsinki central bus station (Kamppi) and Joensuu. The bus ride takes between 6 and 8 hours, and the cheapest tickets offered by Onnibus start from 9 euros when purchased online well ahead of time.

Bus timetables:

Useful Information


Visa: Finland is a Schengen country.

Banks and ATMs: Opening hours Mon−Fri 10:00−16.30. ATMs called Otto are available in various locations.

Currency: Euro, divided into 100 cents

Credit cards: Credit cards are widely accepted. They can be used in department stores, restaurants and hotels, taxis and also in many small shops.

Drinking water: Finnish tap water is of the highest quality and can be consumed safely throughout the country. Bottled mineral and spring water is available in shops and restaurants.

Electricity: The electric supply in Finland is 230 volts (50Hz) and wall outlets are the Northern European standard (CEE 7/4) with two round contacts. The standard two-pin European plug (CEE 7/16) can be connected to these outlets.

In case of an emergency dial (Ambulance, Police, Fire Department): 112

Health care:

Pharmacies: There are several pharmacies in the city centre. Pharmacies are not open at night time.

Shopping hours: The opening hours below are general guidelines, and there may be local variations.

Weekdays 09:00−21:00
Saturdays 09:00−18.00
Sundays 12.00−18.00

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited indoors in public places such as airports, bus and railway stations, universities, theatres and cinemas. In restaurants and licensed premises smoking is only allowed in designated areas.

Taxis: Taxi fares throughout Finland are comparable to those in continental Europe. The meter is switched on as the customer steps into the vehicle. At the start of the journey the meter displays a fixed basic charge. In daytime, a 5km journey costs about 15€ and a ten-kilometer ride 20€. The number for the taxi in Joensuu is +358 601 10100. Night-time fares include a surcharge.

Time: Finland has adopted Eastern European Time, EET, which is two hours ahead (+2) of Greenwich Mean Time. Eastern European Summer time, EEST, is three hours ahead of GMT.

Tipping: In restaurants and taxis, service is included in the price. Tipping is not necessary but customers may leave a tip if they so wish.

Weather: The average day temperatures in late May are expected to be between +15-20C, but the evenings can be much cooler. There is also always a possibility of rain, so remember to bring a jacket and an umbrella.

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