“Social Justice and Economic Development”

ERF 20th Annual Conference

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Less than two weeks to go until the ERF’s 2014 Annual Conference takes place in Cairo, Egypt. In light of the significant political transformations happening in the region, this year’s conference is devoted to the theme of “Social Justice and Economic Development.” A number of renowned economists, such as Professors John Roemer (Yale University), Marc Fleurbaey (Princeton University), François Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics), Paul Salem (Middle East Institute), will get together with distinguished speakers from the Arab region, Turkey and Iran, to discuss the evolution of the concept, the experience of different countries in achieving social justice and the implications for the Arab countries in general and Egypt in particular.

Many argue that the lack of social justice is one of the main factors that led to popular uprisings in the Arab countries. Despite the high performance in economic growth that some countries witnessed, the majority of citizens did not see an improvement in their living conditions; but rather an increasing concentration of wealth, fewer opportunities and rising corruption. Arab societies were marked by exclusion, unequal treatment before the law and limited freedoms, which in turns fueled a strong sense of social injustice. The conference will address these questions; with a special focus on what social justice might mean, how different societies were able to bring it about, and what are the lessons from these experiences for Arab countries, particularly the ones in transition.

Since 1995, the Economic Research Forum (ERF) has maintained its tradition to hold a Conference every year, creating thus a networking opportunity for approximately 250 economists from the region and outside it. This year’s conference is, however, special as it marks ERF’s 20th anniversary. On this occasion, ERF will be celebrating and honoring those who contributed to make it the premiere regional institute for economic research, with Prof. Galal Amin as a keynote speaker addressing the Power of Ideas.

Planned to take place on March 22-24, 2014, the conference is expected to bring together more than 150 ERF affiliates, researchers and policymakers to discuss and debate ‘Alternative perspectives on social justice’; ‘Comparative experiences of social justice’; and ‘Lessons of experience for Arab countries in transition’.

Conference proceedings and discussions will be published here on the ERF blog. There will be blogs posts, stories, videos interviews, and more to inform readers and provide them with a chance to participate in the conference discussions as they happen. Follow ERF’s twitter account (@ERFLatest) and this blog and join in the conversation online.

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