On Wednesday, May 4, CCAS will join the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and Georgetown University’s Democracy and Governance Program to convene a conference assessing the ongoing developments and challenges presented by the “Arab Spring” uprisings.
Over the last four months, mass protests have rocked the Arab world. Protestors seek democracy, the rule of law, and greater social justice. In Egypt and Tunisia, youth-led movements have forced rulers from office. In Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and Libya, democratic rebellions have provoked brutal repression from regimes determined to hold on to power. While it is too early to predict the outcome in any one of these cases, one vital challenge facing the region’s youthful protestors is to confront—and where possible, transcend—the escalating ideological, social, and religious or sectarian tensions that have been exacerbated by democratic change itself. Whether democracy will be the harbinger of internal conflict and instability, or instead will provide the institutional, legal, and normative framework for domestic reconciliation and peacemaking is the key question that will animate this one-day conference.
In addressing this complex question, the conference organizers hope to offer concrete, policy-relevant insights that will be of benefit to political leaders in the Arab world, as well as to policy makers and activists in the United States working in the areas of human rights, democratic change, and the rule of law.