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Newsletter No.6 - March 2011
Issue No.6 | March 2011 

International Affairs:
Changing Faces: IFI debates the Arab uprisings

  At a Harvard University Kennedy School forum in early February, "Tunisia, Egypt & Lebanon: Changing Arab Politics", IFI Director and Non-Resident Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School Rami G. Khouri offered his expertise alongside several other notable Harvard analysts. Extinguishing Western fears of the Muslim Brotherhood claiming power in Egypt, Khouri debunked popular Arab uprising myths including social media as the key factor in igniting the revolts. “The media helps this process, but it starts with the courage of the individuals,” he said. TuftsNow interviewed Khouri, also a visiting scholar at Tufts’s Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, where he discussed themes about current Arab uprisings, including reasons for revolt, America's response, and possible future revolutions. Khouri lectured on several other topics, including a co-sponsored event between Tufts and the Issam Fares Institute, "What they fear, what they seek: Understanding young Arabs who are reshaping their societies", with Mohamad Younis, Senior Analyst at Gallup.

  On KPFK’s Radio Intifada, IFI Associate Director Dr. Karim Makdisi compared and contrasted current revolutions with Lebanon and discussed an overall “massive shift in the social order of the Arab world.” Makdisi was published in The National on Lebanon's political triumphs and tribulations in the past decade and theorized the country’s future role in a newly configured Arab region.

  BBC Radio 4’s Today program came to Beirut to cover the Egyptian revolution on AUB’s campus, seeking students' perspectives. Makdisi and IFI staffers were also amongst those interviewed. Whilst many harbored concerns about stable change occurring quickly, most shared sentiments of optimism and hope for the region. IFI Communications Manager Zaki Boulos commented on Western media-stoked fears and misconceptions, "Arabs aren’t a homogeneous unit....This is not an Islamic revolution. Period.”

  Speaking about Libya's uprising, Dr. Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government and IFI Non-resident Senior Public Policy Scholar, has also been interviewed by several international media outlets including Al-Jazeera English, The Washington Post and The Hindu.

Research in Focus

IFI Working Paper: "Is It Wrong or Illegal? Situating the Gaza Blockade between International Law and the UN Response"

  Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights Law at Georgetown University Noura Erakat raises legal concerns about Israel’s status as an “occupying power” failing to fulfill its legal obligations to its occupied territories. Erakat's working paper for IFI's UN in the Middle East Research Initiative (UNMERI)  focuses on the UN’s lack of involvement, claiming “its inadequate response to the blockade has resulted in a lack of clarity on the applicable legal regime during a military occupation.” Of the 32 UN resolutions passed on the Middle East since Israel’s 2005 unilateral withdrawal, just two address Gaza--suggesting that not only is the UN complacent towards the Gaza situation, but highlighting discrepancies between its management of past humanitarian crises and Gaza. IFI launched Erakat's working paper at AUB, where she discussed the history of the blockade and recommended the UN both redress its failure to uphold international law and declare the Gaza blockade illegal.

Launch of Noura Erakat's UNMERI Working Paper at AUB:
Video ||| Audio ||| Noura Erakat's presentation ||| Event poster

International Affairs / Arab Youth

"Tunisians on Tunisia:
Students and Professionals reflect on their National Transformation"


An open panel discussion with Tunisian AUB students, a respected Beirut-based Tunisian economist and IFI Director Rami G. Khouri.

An audience of interested observers gathered at AUB to engage the panelists on the situation in Tunisia.

Read summary ||| Event poster


Arab Youth

"Problems or Assets? Egyptian Youth and Public Participation"

A lecture and open discussion with Barbara Ibrahim, founder and director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, American University in Cairo.

Ibrahim was principal investigator on a major national survey of adolescents and their parents conducted in Egypt in 1997.


Listen Audio ||| Watch Video


UN in the Middle East Research Initiative

"The Goldstone Report"

A discussion with Goldstone Panel Members: Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Desmond Travers, Former Officer of the Irish Army.

The panelists described the mandate of The Goldstone Report, its findings, how it was received around the world, and its ongoing political, legal, and social relevance.


Audio ||| Video ||| Event summary

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