A Developing Area of Scholarship
A burgeoning interest in the theoretical and practical aspects of border research is clearly in evidence in the worldwide academic community at current. There is a constant rise in the number of academic border study programs, research centers, journals, competitive grants, conferences, and data bases, all devoted to the study of borders, border regions, and the critical role of borders in promoting international relationships.
This trend is global in scope; programs in border and cross-border studies are attracting increasing interest as recognized areas of scholarship in both Europe and the United States. Border studies are viewed as vital as to both traditional disciplinary and emerging interdisciplinary fields of study which are used to examine and challenge the basis of many political, social, cultural and ethnic conceptions.
New and Dynamic Changes
New patterns of cross-border relationships are evolving, particularly in peaceful areas. In numerous regions based on a multiplicity of international borders, these new patterns offer exciting prospects in areas such as, social development, economic growth, and environmental management with the resultant opportunity to overcome past shortcomings.
Post-conflict border regions, or those which are over-shadowed by regional conflict, are only marginally affected by these processes. In these regions, local needs are often not voiced due to an atmosphere of cross-border alienation and the ongoing dominance of national security concerns. Yet even in conflicted border regions, local perception of interdependence and varied cross-border interactions is slowly, but surely developing.
A Unique Center
A Unique Opportunity
The Red Sea Cross-Border Research Center is well poised to achieve recognition as a unique center, strategically engaged in all facets of border research, while engaging in the challenges of practical application.
The center is well positioned for contributions to the development and advancement of contemporary research themes. The Red Sea Cross-Border Research Center forges its own unique individual identity - an identity based on a singular tri-border location and close proximity to: regional challenges of conflict management; post-conflict cross-border relations; and myriad challenges of local physical conditions and environmental needs.
As border research and cross-border relations are dominated by world attention on the always expanding European Union, BGU makes a truly outstanding contribution to this field: BGU researchers focus on the experience of Israel and the Middle East. Israel's own experiences in military conflict and post-conflict border resolution
present significant opportunities for the study of cross-border relations together with the challenges of security, the perception of threat, and the dual prospects for both war and peace. BGU is strategically positioned to benefit from the Israeli experience and contribute to the worldwide study of borders with a stated objective of facilitating cross-border cooperation.
Tri-Border Region on the Red Sea:
Planning and Development
The Gulf of the Red Sea is part of the 6,000 kilometer-long geological formation of the Great Rift Valley, formed by the process which is now dividing the once contiguous landmass of Asia and Africa. The northern section of the Gulf is a tri-border region, shared by Jordan, Israel and Egypt.
The Gulf of the Red Sea is the world's most northern tropical ecosystem. The Gulf has impressive biological diversity and serves as host to hundreds of species of coral, fish, and mollusks. The Gulf is a central resource for the entire cross-border region as well as the focus of a well developed tourist industry for Israel, Jordan, and Egypt - the cities of Eilat, Aqaba and Taba respectively.
This tri-border region is rapidly developing, but despite the formal status of peaceful relations between the three countries, patterns of planning and development tend to be unilateral rather than cooperative. This has clearly been to the detriment of the regional economy, environmental sustainability, and overall quality of life for all concerned.
The Red Sea Cross-Border Research Center does not limit itself to the purely academic or theoretical; its goal is to advance cross-border cooperation through applied research and through the development of resources to be made readily available to all individuals and organizations actually engaged in local cross-border activity.