Expert conference

The Arab World in Transition

Chances for Civil Participation & Challenges to Cross-Regional Security

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s second intra-regional conference discusses the consequences of the upheavals in the MENA region


The historic events of last Sunday, 24 November 2014, only four years ago would have seemed far-fetched and virtually unimaginable to most observers and experts on the Arab world: Almost five million Tunisians flocked to the polls to cast their vote in Tunisia’s first free presidential elections and have their say in the political future of their country. Ever since the beginning of the upheavals in the Arab world, Tunisia for many has become an exemplar for the walk on the tightrope of the long path towards democracy in the MENA region. But while outside of Tunisia the calls for “bread, liberty and justice” in many cases were not able to do justice to the high hopes for change, they have nevertheless carved out new spaces for public debate and civil participation in the Arab world, which now need to be protected and promoted.

At the same time, however, the upheavals have also given rise to a number of new worries: The conflict in Syria continues to rage on uninhibitedly and is developing into a maelstrom that threatens to throw much of the Levant into perpetual disarray. In Egypt, the spirits of authoritarianism and heavy-handed repression have returned to the once so hopeful country. With over 10 million people on the run, the region and the world at large are facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. And the continued political instability has laid waste to the region’s many already impoverished economies, nurturing an ideal hotbed for extremist movements.

From 30 November to 2 December, all of these developments will be at the centre of debate at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s second inter-regional conference “The Arab World in Transition – Chances for Civil Participation and Challenges to Cross-Regional Security” at the Dead Sea in Jordan. The three-day event, organised by the Domestic Programmes Department in cooperation with the Regional Programme Gulf States and the Jordan Office, aims to empower decision-makers, experts and civil society representatives from the Maghreb, the Levant and the Gulf through fostering inter-regional dialogue and exchange. At the same time, the German participants will be able to gain an inside perspective on the complex developments in the Arab world as well as identify new problems and opportunities for cooperation. With this approach, the conference builds on last year’s event “Between Europe & the Gulf”, through which the Regional Programme Gulf States and the Jordan Office have given a first impulse for an enhanced understanding and networking between opinion leaders and decision makers from all over the Arab world.

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Dead Sea, Jordan


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Dr. Gidon Windecker