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Democracy in the Arab World

19 May 2011, a whole day workshop on the prospects of democratisation in the Arab world, organised jointly by LSE IDEAS Middle East Programme and the LSE Middle East Centre 

In December 2010, the people of Tunisia made history as the first in the Arab world to dispose of a dictator after a series of mass protests. This event marked the beginning of a wave of turmoil and instability in the region, but also to a renewed hope for democratisation and liberalisation of politics in the Arab world.

The aim of the workshop was to discuss the prospects of democratisation in the region. The speakers and participants all tried to answer the following questions: Are we indeed witnessing a revolution, or whether a coup? Are there genuine prospects for democratisation?  Which grassroots and civil society activists took part in the events and what are their expectations from the future? What is the Islamist vision of the new order? And how should the West cope with the new realities in the region?

The answers to these questions have been as diverse as the background of the participants. The conclusions of the workshop and the suggestions brought up by participants are all summarised in a report, which is to be published soon.



Professor Fawaz Gerges

is a Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East and is the Director of the Middle East Centre at LSE.



Professor Nigel Ashton

 is a Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Ashton's main fields of interest are contemporary Anglo-American relations and the modern history of the Middle East.


Maha Azzam

Dr. Maha Azzam

is an Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. Dr. Azzam is the author of "Al-Qaeda Five Years On", and she works extensively on the recent history of US involvement in North Africa and the Middle East, including the brief shift in policy during the presidency of George W Bush and the role that Israel plays in US/Arab relations.


Mr. Seif al-Din Ferjani


Issandr El Amrani

Mr. Issandr El Amrani

is a writer and analyst on Middle Eastern affairs. He is a former North Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group and has contributed to The Economist, Middle East International and many other newspapers and magazines. Living between Cairo and Rabat, he publishes a long-running blog, The Arabist.

Ghanim Alnajjar

Professor Ghanim Alnajjar

is the Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University and editor of the Gulf Studies Series Journal, UAE. From 1999 to 2002 he was Director of the Centre for Strategic and Future Studies at Kuwait University and has been visiting scholar at several universities such as Harvard University.

Katerina Dalacoura

 Dr. Katerina Dalacoura

is a lecturer in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science who specializes in democracy and human rights in the Middle East with a special emphasis on Egypt, Iran, and Turkey.

Morten Valbjorn

 Dr. Morten Valbjorn

is assistant professor at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark. His current research interest concerns the nature of a(nother) 'new Middle East' and the implications for our study of the region, including questions about regional order in the Arab world, (post)democratization and Arab political rule and trends in Islamism(s).

Andrea Teti

Dr. Andrea Teti

is Lecturer in International Relations at University of Aberdeen. His teaching focuses on Middle Eastern history and politics, and on political theory (particularly post-structuralism).


Mr.Jesper Roel Hostrup

is currently employed as Principal administrator in the European External Action Service (EEAS), Middle East Division. Since 2008, he is in charge of the regional dimension of the Middle East Peace Process.