In February 2013 the CMES Arab Transformative Movements working group hosted a symposium, Arab Transformations in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, in which scholars and statesmen attempted to analyze efforts to create a new political order in Egypt and Tunisia. Participants included Hazem Beblawi, Baber Johansen, Yoram Meital, Mustapha Nabli, Richard Norton, Roger Owen, Hani Shukrallah, Denis Sullivan, and Dirk Vandewalle.
The initial conclusion of this group was that the processes in these countries were following much the same course:
-Uprising, calls for a constitution, and elections to a constitutional assembly.
-Elections (inevitably) won by a religious movement-turned-party (Muslim Brothers and Nahda).
-Religious governments reveal their inability either to create a consensus behind a new constitutional
order or to address the huge economic problems all countries faced.
-New elections won by a Liberal Reform Coalition.
Second Workshop: February 2014
Clearly this frame of analysis will have to be modified in the light of recent events, including the absence of a coherent “liberal” opposition, the continued presence of a variety of popular groups in the political arena, the presence of remnants of the previous dictatorial regime, and, in Egypt, a military takeover. Not only was the whole process more violent and unruly than might originally have been imagined, but it has also brought to the fore basic problems concerning the nature of the republican form of government in which sovereignty is assigned to the “people,” as well as of the role of representation and of religious movements within it.
On February 14 & 15, 2014, Professors Roger Owen (CMES, Harvard) and Yoram Meital (Ben-Gurion University) will welcome the following participants to a second workshop:
Baber Johansen, Professor of Islamic Studies, Harvard Divinity School
Tarek Masoud, Associate Professor in Public Policy at the JFK School of Government
Hugh Roberts, Edward Keller Professor of North African and Middle Eastern History, Department of History, Tufts University
Lotfi Saibi, President & CEO, 4D-Leadership House
Paul Salem, Vice President, Middle East Institute
Hani Shukrallah, Egyptian journalist & political analyst; Executve Director, Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism
Denis Sullivan, Professor of Middle East Studies, International Affairs Program, Northeastern University
This workshop is open to the public, but please be aware that seating may be limited.
Contact: Liz Flanagan