This has been truly amazing year for me. I have been feeling like a kid in a sweet shop where the “sweets” that I wanted to taste was the amazing depth and breath of knowledge that exists here at the University of Oxford and at St. Antony’s College more specifically. For a EU bureaucrat with over 20 years of experience in the service to be in an environment that examines every aspect of EU policy was challenging, invigorating and refreshing. This academic year has also been a very busy year.
I have been carrying out my own research on the interrelation between energy and political developments in the context of EU policy developments. I have focused on the East Mediterranean and the implications of the discovery of natural gas in the region. It has been particularly challenging since the political and energy related developments in the region and further afield were rapid and far reaching, even in the small time frame of the 2012-13 academic year.
My first seminar in 2012 was entitled” The discovery of natural gas in the South East Mediterranean: Politically trapped gas or fuel for cooperation?” looked at what was discovered, what was the on-going cooperation between the countries in the region, often despite the negative rhetoric of the political leaders and what could potentially be done in order to promote cooperation.
In 2013 I have mainly focused on furthering the understanding of the developments by talking to energy experts and key decision makers from the region. In this context I also convened two very interesting seminars – one with the D. Minister of Energy of Turkey and the second with the Chairman of the Cypriot National Hydrocarbon Company. For both of these events a detailed blog post is available on SEESOX Blog and on akaminara.wordpress.com where also additional information on relevant issues can be found.
I have been an active member of the Energy Network of Oxford University and had the opportunity to learn from the experts and to participate in discussions on energy policies of the UK, Russia, China, India, East Africa etc.
In June 2013 I presented the final findings of my research to two specialised audiences – the first at Chatham House to the Fossil Fuels Roundtable and to second one to the College. I am very pleased at the feedback I received.
In addition, in February 2013 I presented a seminar on the implications of the Cypriot Presidential election on the Cypriot political scene just only a couple of days after the election results were known and combined these with an analysis of the developments in the Turkish Cypriot community. These implications and the subsequent negative developments on the economy kept Cyprus in the global media headlines for weeks.
I have also of course, been taking a very active role in seminars and conferences on the EU developments – e.g. financial crisis, political economy, democratic legitimacy, social implications of crisis, migration and other similarly much in the headlines topics.
Finally, meeting so many world experts in a variety of fields but also so many very interesting people was precious and I want to particularly warmly thank ESC and SEESOX colleagues for making this year so special for me.
NB: Text written for the SEESOX newsletter – soon to be published