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Tahrir Square revolutionary Ahmed Naguib and Occupy blogger Laurie Penny to join LSE scholars to reflect on past and present popular protest

25 April 2012 - Renowned social scientists and frontline political activists will gather to launch the tenth anniversary edition of the pioneering Global Civil Society Yearbook on Wednesday 2 May at the London School of Economics.

Young British journalist and blogger Laurie Penny, aka PennyRed, Egyptian activist Ahmed Naguib and Yearbook founding editors and civil society scholars Mary Kaldor and Helmut Anheier will discuss the blossoming radicalisation of civil society, asking if there is anything ‘new’ about the current ‘politics of squares’.

Ahmed Naguib, co-founder of the Trustees of the Revolution in Egypt, says: ‘My travels over the past year to share the story of Tahrir Square and the awakening of the Arab nation is my modest contribution to the quest for a global perspective.’

He adds: ‘Coming to LSE is a great opportunity for furthering dialogue on issues such as democracy, poverty and social justice. It is also a great honour to share the same platform where many great thinkers and activists such as Abdullahi An Na'im, Helmut Anheier, Mary Kaldor, and Richard Falk have stood.’

Over the past decade, the Global Civil Society yearbook has attempted to document ‘the sphere of ideas, values, organisations, networks and individuals’ operating beyond the confines of the nation state, and concerned with ‘the radicalisation of democracy and the redistribution of political power’ (Global Civil Society 2001). Ten years on from the publication of the first yearbook, the impact of such a sphere could hardly have been more dramatic.

In Global Civil Society 2012: Ten Years of Critical Reflection, prominent activists and academics look back on ten years of 'politics from below', addressing issues such as the rise of the civil economy, global civil society and the internet, military intervention, and the crisis of democracy.

Professor Kaldor notes: ‘The first Global Civil Society yearbook was due to be launched in New York at the United Nations on September 17 2001. The events of 9/11 did not only mean the cancellation of our event - they blew off course the whole project of ‘civilising’ globalisation. This anniversary edition was written during 2011 in the midst of a new wave of global civil society mobilisation. The question we ask is whether our project is back on course: Do the current generation of protestors represent the harbingers of a new emancipatory agenda? Or is the opposite the case, could social fragmentation and polarisation from above as well as from below could usher in an even more dangerous and divided world?’

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