American University of Beirut

Social Justice in the Arab World since 2010: Changing Conditions, Mobilizations, and Policies



    Conference at the American University of Beirut
    Organized by AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University

    Date: February 2 - 3, 2017

    About the Conference​​

    In this conference, we seek to assess social movement changes and emerging social justice policies, or the lack thereof, in the Arab world since 2010 - at both the national and local policy levels. We are particularly interested in examining local dynamics to learn about changes in people's everyday living conditions since 2010, how people organize and mobilize to express their grievances and seek to promote policy changes, and whether any measurable or meaningful changes in state policies related to social justice demands have occurred. The conference brings together researchers from the region and abroad who can clarify developments in areas that include the evolution of social inequalities; organized and informal social and political protest movements; citizen grievances and social justice demands; new forms of organization and activism; roles of trade unions and professional associations; reform of state institutions; decentralization and the role of local authorities; changes in people's living conditions since 2010. 

    About the collaboration

    In 2013, the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (AUB) launched a four year collaborative initiative with the generous support of the Bobst Foundation in New York, focusing on projects designed to promote studies relating to the Middle East in order to advance the cause of peace, mutual understanding, and justice. This unique collaboration seeks to leverage both institutions’ intellectual capital and mutual interests in order to raise awareness about the politics of transformation in MENA.

    Keynote Speeches

    The University as a Model for a Fair and Just Society 
    • ​​Fadlo R. Khuri, President, American University of Beirut 

    Universities can often serve as micro-models of society as a whole, often mirroring their challenges and strengths, and even accentuating them. The American University of Beirut has played an enormous role in the development of education, political consciousness, and medical and business leadership for Lebanon and the Arab world for the entirety of its 150 years. After a period of retrenchment that began during Lebanon's descent into its exhausting and ultimately fruitless Civil War, the university has begun to emerge once more as a force for societal engagement. How the University's influence in education, healthcare, and the economy of Lebanon in the Arab world can be leveraged to provide optimal positive impact is a matter of much discussion. This is particularly important if AUB is to provide the beginnings of a post-sectarian, manifestly secular identity for Lebanon to adopt 

    Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, the 16th president of the University, assumed office on September 1, 2015. He previously held leadership positions at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. These included professor and chairman of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, the Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research, deputy director for the Winship Cancer Institute, and the executive associate dean for research. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Khuri was raised in Beirut while his father Raja N. Khuri served as dean of the AUB's Faculty of Medicine and his mother as a professor of mathematics. Following a year of study at AUB (1981-82), Khuri earned his undergraduate degree at Yale University in New Haven, and his MD at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Boston City Hospital, and a fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Tufts-New England Medical Center. He has published over 300 peer reviewed articles, and his work has been cited over 16,000 times. Khuri's work has been recognized with several major awards, including the 2006 Nagi Sahyoun Award of the Middle East Medical Assembly, the 2010 Waun Ki Hong Distinguished Professorship by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the 2013 American Association for Cancer Research Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award. He is a member of the Lebanese Academy of Sciences; the American Society for Clinical Investigation, is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cancer. ​

    Distinguished Lectures

     Universal Human Rights and Social Justice vs. Diversity and Self-Determination: Can they be Reconciled?
    • ​Stephen Macedo, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics, Princeton University
    Professor Macedo will speak about some traditions of thinking about social justice and democracy, with a particular eye to the question of how we should think about local and diverse ways of creating a legitimate — morally and not only sociologically legitimate — and cooperative social order. Do leading Western models of constitutional democracy furnish standards for political legitimacy that apply globally? Do they provide guidance as to which social justice demands are morally most urgent? Do human rights furnish such guidance? How great is the danger that such models and traditions of thought might lead scholars or policy-makers to ignore diverse local traditions and conditions on the ground, producing more harm than good? 

    Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the former Director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He writes and teaches on political theory, ethics, public policy, and law, especially on topics related to liberalism, democracy and citizenship, diversity and civic education, religion and politics, and the family and sexuality. He is author of Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage (Princeton University Press, 2015). He is co-author of Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do About It (Brookings, 2005). His other books include Diversity and Distrust: Civic Education in a Multicultural Democracy (Harvard U. Press, 2000); and Liberal Virtues: Citizenship, Virtue, and Community in Liberal Constitutionalism (Oxford U. Press, 1990). ​

    Trump's Presidency: Islamophobia and the Middle East
    • Amaney Jamal, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    The Trump presidency has raised anxieties world-wide. What does his election mean for stability and the future of democracy in the Middle East? Will authoritarianism become even more entrenched? What challenges and opportunities might arise under his leadership? And what does his election mean for America's Muslim community?

    Amaney A. Jamal is the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics at Princeton University and director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice. Jamal also directs the Workshop on Arab Political Development. She currently is President of the Association of Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS). The focus of her current research is democratization and the politics of civic engagement in the Arab world. Her interests also include the study of Muslim and Arab Americans and the pathways that structure their patterns of civic engagement in the United States. Jamal's books include Barriers to Democracy, which explores the role of civic associations in promoting democratic effects in the Arab world (winner 2008 APSA Best Book Award in comparative democratization). She is co-editor of Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11: From Invisible Citizens to Visible Subjects (2007) and Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11 (2009). Her most recent book is Of Empires and Citizens published by Princeton University Press, (2012)


    ​​Thursday, February 2, 2017
    ​9:00 – 9:30
    Opening & Welcoming Remarks

    Tarek Mitri, Director, Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut
    Amaney Jamal,Director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, Princeton University
    Leila Kabalan, Program Coordinator, Social Justice and Development Policy in the Arab World, Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut

    ​9:30 – 10:15
    Universal Human Rights and Social Justice vs. Diversity and Self-Determination: Can they be Reconciled? 

    Stephen Macedo, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics, Princeton University
    ​10:15 – 10:30
    ​Coffee Break
    10:30 – 12:30​​Auditorium
    Trends, Constraints, and Grievances in the Arab Region 
    Moderator: Nasser Yassin, Director of Research, Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut

    Popular Grievances in the Arab Region: Evaluating Explanations for Discontent in the Lead-up to the Uprisings
    Nisreen Salti, Associate Professor of Economics, American University of Beirut 
    Melanie Cammett, Professor of Government, Harvard University 

    Economic Growth, Youth Unemployment, and Political and Social Instability: A Study of Policies and Outcomes in Post-Arab Spring Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, 1990-2013
    Heath Prince, Research Scientist, University of Texas at Austin
    Amna Khan, Deputy Project Director for the Center for Advanced Studies in Energy, Islamabad, Pakistan 
    Yara Halasa, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

    Youth-Focused Active Labor Market Programs in a Constraining Welfare Regime: A Qualitative Reading of Programs in Egypt
    Ghada Barsoum, Assistant Professor, American University in Cairo 

    The Rule of Law in the Arab Gulf: Vectors of Social Change and Consolidation
    David Mednicoff,Director of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    ​12:30 – 13:30
    ​Lunch Break
    ​13:30 – 15:30
    Polls, Data, and Changing Attitudes from the Arab Region
    Moderator: Charles Harb, Professor of Social Psychology, American University of Beirut 

    Why do Jordanians Prefer Shia over Sunni Refugees? A Conjoint Experiment on Sectarian Bias among Ordinary Citizens 
    Michael Robbins, Project Director, Arab Barometer 

    Religion, Trust, and Other Determinants of Muslim Attitudes toward Gender Equality: Evidence and Insights from 54 Surveys in the Middle East and North Africa 
    Mark Tessler, Samuel J. Eldersveld Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan
    Hafsa Tout, Research Assistant, University of Michigan

    Religious Identities, Measurement, and Attitudes toward Regime Type in the Arab World 
    Sabri Ciftci, Associate Professor, Kansas State University
    F. Michael Wuthrich, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Kansas 
    Ammar Shamaileh, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville 

    Citizens and Security Threats in the Middle East: Perceptions and Consequences
    Ishac Diwan, Chaire Socio-économie du Monde Arabe, Paris Sciences et Lettres, France
    Irina Vartanova, Saint Petersburg Higher School of Economics, Russia
    ​15:30 – 16:00
    ​Coffee Break
    ​16:00 – 17:30
    Parallel Sessions

    Session A - Conference room (4th floor) 

    Tunisia Today: Politics, Protests, and Partisans 
    Moderator: Rania Masri, Associate Director, Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, American University of Beirut 

    The Political Behavior of Economic "Outsiders": Informal Labor, Unemployed Graduates, and the Roots of Social Discontent
    Helen Milner, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Princeton University 
    Amaney Jamal, Professor of Politics, Princeton University
    Chantal Berman, PhD Candidate, Princeton University

    University Graduates and Inhabitants of Marginalized Regions: Explaining the Weakness of Unemployed Activism in Tunisia 
    Samiha Hamdi, PhD Candidate, University of Languages and Human Sciences of Sfax, Tunisia
    Irene Weipert-Fenner, Research Fellow, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany Session B - Auditorium

    Expectations and Disappointments in Post-Uprisings Arab World 
    Moderator: Rim Saab, Assistant Professor of Psychology, American University of Beirut 

    A Case for Chaos; Thresholds of Violence and Meaning in Egypt after 2011
    Habiba Al Awady, University Fellow and Researcher, Anthropology Department, American University in Cairo 

    Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Social Justice and the Rise of Dystopian Art and Literature Post-Arab Spring
    Sarah Marusek, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

    The Politics of Hope and Disappointment in Post-Uprising Egypt 
    Nermin Allam, Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University​
    ​17:30 – 19:00
    Trump's Presidency: Islamophobia and the Middle East 
    Amaney Jamal, Director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, and Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    ​​Thursday  February 2, 2017
    9:00 – 9:45
    The University as a Model for a Fair and Just Society  
    Fadlo R. Khuri, President, American University of Beirut​
    9:45 – 10:00
    Coffee Break
    10:00 – 12:00 
    Gender Activism: Case Studies from the Region 
    Moderator: Leila Kabalan, Program Coordinator, Social Justice and Development Policy in the Arab World, Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut 

    Queer Politics and Social Justice in Palestine 
    Sa'ed Atshan, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Princeton University

    Resilience, LGBT, and Space: Tunisian and Lebanese Youth Activists' Rights and Struggles
    Arnaud Kurze, Assistant Professor, Montclair State University 

    Participation in Political Protests and Young People's Views on Gender Equality in Egypt
    Rania Roushdy, Senior Program Manager, Poverty, Gender and Youth Program, Population Council 
    Maia Sieverding, Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice, American University of Beirut 

    Public Spaces and Women in Egypt: Contemplating between Constitutions
    Magda Shahin, Director of Prince Alwaleed Center for American Studies and Research, American University in Cairo
    Yasmeen Ghazaly, Research Assistant, American University in Cairo
    12:00 – 13:00
    ​Lunch Break
    13:00 – 15:00 
    Institutional, Political, and Social Changes in Post-Revolution Egypt 
    Moderator: Dina El-Khawaga, Director, Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, American University of Beirut 

    Does Egypt Want Change? Implicit Attitudes Towards an Authoritarian Regime
    Daniel Tavana, PhD Candidate, Princeton University 
    Rory Truex, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

    Institutional Reform in Post-Revolutionary Egypt
    Mustapha El Sayyid, Affiliate Professor, American University in Cairo

    Policy Change and Popular Mobilization for Equitable Basic Education in Egypt
    Hania Sobhy, Academic Coordinator, Berlin Brandenbourg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), Germany

    Peasants' Mobilizations in Egypt. From Direct Action to Unionization: The Role of NGOs, Solidarity Activists and Intellectuals in Rural Struggles, 2010-2015 
    Francesco Des Lellis, PhD Candidate, Universita L'Orientale, Naples, Italy​
    15:00 – 15:30
    Coffee Break
    15:30 – 17:30
    Parallel Sessions

    Session A ​- Conference room (4th floor)

    Social and Political Mobilizations in Yemen and Algeria
    Moderator: Sarah El Jamal, Research Assistant, Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut

    The Role of Social Movements in Achieving Social Justice in Yemen
    Faisal Mahboub, PhD Candidate in Political Sciences, Tunis El Manar University, Tunisia

    The Political Engagement of the Algerian Youth 
    Mustapha Omrane, Researcher, Centre de recherche en économie appliquée pour le développement, Algeria

    "Mahgourin Fi Bled El Bitrol": Mobilizing for Social Justice in South Algeria
    Naoual Belakhdar, Research Associate, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
    Session B ​ - Auditorium

    Grassroots Mobilizations and Political Ideologies in Lebanon and Iraq
    Moderator: Rayan El-Amine, Assistant Director, Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut
    The Lebanese Power Structure and its Impact on the Effectiveness of Grassroots Mobilizations: Lessons from the Labor Movement 
    Rossana Tufaro, PhD Candidate, Università Cà Foscari, Venice, Italy 

    Access to Justice in a Displaced Community: The Case of a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Southern Lebanon
    Jaber Sleiman, Policy Adviser

    Lebanese Ideology as a Driver of Sectarianism 
    Barea Sinno, PhD Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin 

    The Sadrist Trend and the Development of Iraqi Civil Society
    Damian Doyle, PhD Candidate, Australian National University, Australia ​
    ​17:30 – 18:30
    Closing Roundtable

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