GDNet supports southern researchers to contribute and debate ideas in development thinking, policy and practice.
The Road to Democracy :The ArabRegion, Latin America and Eastern Europe
Friday, 18 May 2012 - 4 to 7pm
American University of Beirut Campus-Beirut, Lebanon
After decades of authoritarian rule, the popular uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt (January 2011) appear to have opened the door for a potential democratic transformation not only in these two countries but also in the Arab Region as a whole. This, of course, remains to be seen.
In their aftermath, the following political picture in the region has so far emerged:
(1) Popular and/or armed uprisings have occurred in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. In the case of Libya, Western military intervention played a decisive role in toppling the Gadhafi regime, while in the case of Bahrain; Saudi military intervention has played a crucial role in preserving the regime. In Yemen, after a prolonged period of mass protests and military conflicts, a new president was elected, but national reconciliation is yet to be achieved. And in Syria the outcome of peaceful popular demonstrations against the regime that turned into armed upheavals remains uncertain.
(2) In the other Arab countries, threatening mass movements do not seem to be in the making, and, for the time being at least, the surviving autocratic regimes are not in imminent danger of being overthrown.
With the above in mind, the panel will assess the prospects for democratic transition in the Arab region in light of the lessons to be learnt from the recent uprisings with a focus on Tunisia and Egypt, and against the experience of democratic transformation in Latin America and Eastern Europe.
The panel will include:
Prof. Samir Makdisi, Professor Emeritus of Economics, American University of Beirut