BU Arabists Participate in Fall 2011 Conferences on Arab Spring
Washington Conference on Post-Mubarak Egypt: "The Road to Democracy and Economic Development"
On January 25, 2011 the world heard a voice of a revolution calling for freedom, democracy, and a better future. People all over the world heard the voices of liberation from years of tyranny and oppression. Egyptians were able to speak up and have their voices heard. In the Conference "The Road to Democracy and Economic Development," Egyptians asked themselves whether their voices are getting stronger or fading away. There is no doubt that there are many regressive forces not only inside Egypt but outside as well which want Egyptian voice to disappear among their drum beats of the past. They are back, because they never left. They are tainting the image of Egypt's revolution with their graffiti and more, and saying that they are making it better.
The first Egyptian Advocacy Conference was convened on October 21-23, 2011, to promote Egypt’s interest in the US and the rest of the world, and to safeguard the revolution of January 25. This conference was attended by various Egyptian presidential candidates; U.S. Congressman Jim Moran; U.S. Middle East experts Marc Lynch, James Zoghby; and many other significant personages in the field. Conference participants discussed Egypt's future economic development and how to build strong relations between the U.S. and the "new" Egypt.
Faculty in BU's Arabic Studies Program — Kevin Lacey, Eid Mohamed, Tayseer Gomaa —
were invited to participate in the inaugural Egypt Conference. Professor Kevin Lacey
moderated a panel on the Pillars of a Modern and Democratic Egyptian Constitution.
Professor Eid Mohamed was a guest speaker in a panel discussing The Future of Egypt
from the Perspective of Egyptian-American.
Professor Mohamed was able to get two VIP tickets ($200 each) for Arabic Program students Geoffrey B Daniels and Sereena Karsou. Geoffrey, describing one of the key points that the conference focused, remarked on "the need for a US-Egypt Free Trade Agreement in order to promote bilateral trade and create a mutually beneficial partnership, the need for Egyptian-Americans to provide a specific service for Egypt (whether in the field of technology, infrastructure, education, etc.), and the need for cooperation amongst all Egyptians regardless of religious affiliation (brought forth in one discussion by referencing Tawfiq Al-Hakim and his depiction of a unified Egyptian spirit."
Rutgers Workshop on "Current Democratic Movements in the Middle East"
Last spring saw a dramatic rise in democratic waves swamping Arab streets, bringing political and social change to Egypt and Tunisia, and creating continuous, spectacular protests and uprisings in other countries of the region. These events require serious analytical reassessment of our teaching in the interdisciplinary fields of Middle-Eastern and North-African studies. We are now faced with the continuous challenge of receiving unlimited amounts of information regarding day-to-day political, cultural, and economic transformations of these societies. Scholars are striving to create new methods, material resources, and theoretical frameworks for their pedagogical purposes, while not abandoning historical causes which rest at the roots of these uprisings.
The purpose of this workshop (organized by Research Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University) on November 16, 2011 was to provide a teach-in space to discuss key forces contributing to the rise of these new democratic waves and to the quest for social justice. Participants discussed the role of women's rights movements, labor unions, youth activists, student organizations, social media, national and transnational politics of the region, and popular culture and political art.
The workshop ultimately explored the role that the Arab Spring has played as a direct challenge to entrenched institutional power, both in the region and on the international level, in fostering transformed internal politics as well as transparent foreign policies to seek a new horizon for the future of the region.
BU Arabists received special invitation from the Research Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University to be guest speakers at this workshop. Prof. Kevin Lacey offered a speech on " Understanding the Egyptian Revolution through Modern Egyptian Literature." Prof. Eid Mohamed spoke about " The Cultural Dimensions of Egyptian Revolution" while Prof. Tayseer Gomaa delivered a speech on " Egypt between Two Revolutions, 1952-2011"