The political economy of Arab awakening – ERF workshop

The 2012 ERF Annual Conference got off to a lively start in Cairo, Egypt, today, before it even officially opens, tomorrow. A workshop explored aspects of the Arab awakening in an attempt to understand the changes that have transformed the region in the past year and to inform the political process, while drawing on experiences from other regions. As Ahmed Galal, ERF managing director put it, it is important that ERF takes up the role of setting a new research agenda for the coming years. The workshop is the beginning of this process.

Panel session 1 - Political Economy Settlements
The first workshop session set the tone of the discussion. Stephen Kosack and Evann Smith (Harvard University) presented a study on Arab mass movements in a comparative perspective, while Ishac Diwan (Harvard) offered participants an analytical framework to understanding the Arab revolutions.

Jillian Schwedler and Pratap Mehta

In the second panel, three case studies were presented exploring lessons from other countries that have already experienced a transition to more open political systems in the recent years. Jillian Schwedler looked at the role of political Islam in Jordan and Yemen while Esra Çeviker Gürakar focused on what drove changes in political settlements in Turkey. Finally, Philips Vermonte, presented a case study on Indonesia before and after the revolution.

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