Democracy | Wilson Center


From 1910 to 2010: Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Youth and Adult Grievances that Drive the Second Arab Revolt

In addressing the recent events that have unfolded in the Middle East, Rami Khouri discussed the various factors that motivated these recent uprisings throughout the Arab world, in what he considered the "second Arab revolt."

Tunisia and the Arab Malaise

Recent events in Tunisia have given rise to speculation about whether or not the country's popular uprising will serve as an example to other Arab nations. Alan Goulty, former British Ambassador to the Republic of Tunisia, and David Ottaway, former Bureau Chief for the Washington Post in Cairo, shed light on the complex situation in Tunisia and spoke to the effects it may have on the region.

The Crisis in the Arab World's Aging Leadership

With eight Arab kings and presidents over 65 years of age, the Arab world faces pressing questions about upcoming transitions and issues of succession. David Ottaway, a former Washington Post correspondent and investigative reporter with over 40 years of experience reporting on the Middle East, addressed these issues and challenged some fundamental assumptions regarding the transition of power.

Iran Primer I: Domestic Politics

In the first in a series of meetings following the recent release of the book The Iran Primer, three of its contributing authors offered their insights on Iran's domestic politics in the year following the contested elections of June 2009 which saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reelected to a second, thus far contentious, term. The topics analyzed included internal politics, the opposition movement, and the current state of diplomacy with Iran.

Ahmadinejad's Confrontation with the Iranian Parliament

Recent developments within Iran's political institutions suggest that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces growing domestic opposition from an unlikely source: the ruling conservative movement. Professor Bahman Baktiari discussed how Ahmadinejad appears to be losing influence within Iran, particularly in the country's parliament.

Egypt at the Tipping Point?

With the Hosni Mubarak era nearing its close, the political future of Egypt is one of the most topical issues in Middle East politics today. Despite all the social and economic changes Egypt has experienced in the last decade under Mubarak, the country has not, according to journalist David Ottaway, undergone the sort of political change that would make easily predictable greater democracy or major change in the existing authoritarian style of rule as a result of forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

Iran: The Year of Reckoning

8:30 – 9:00am

Welcoming Remarks: Haleh Esfandiari, Director, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson Center

9:00 – 10:45am

Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School and Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Michael Postl, Former Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Iran

Shaul Bakhash, Chair and Commentator, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History, George Mason University

10:45 – 11:00am
Coffee Break

You Are the Media: How Iranians "Democratized" the Media

As Iranian bloggers have increased their presence on the Internet and activists have harnessed the power of new social media, they have effectively "democratized" the media in Iran, according to journalist Iran Davar Ardalan. She indicated that this transformation is evident in the responses to Iran's disputed 2009 election, which demonstrated the role of the new media in Iran and the rise of citizen journalism.

Lebanon: Is Real Reform Possible?

Despite a political system and social structure in which sectarianism shows few signs of dissipating, genuine reform can still occur in Lebanon that not only drives growth, but also creates political momentum for reform and has a significant economic and social impact on Lebanese society.

Democratization as a Source of Tension Between the United States and Egypt

On December 14, the Middle East Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted a meeting featuring Heba Elkoudsy, Wilson Center Visiting Arab Journalist. Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center, moderated the event.