The first in a series of workshops on the Arab Spring: 10 Years On was held on Saturday, January 30, with participants joining from Algeria, Lebanon, Sudan and Tunisia. For almost two hours a lively and at times passionate discussion took place between the participants, all aged between 20 and 40 years old. The workshop looked back on the tumultuous months of late 2010 and early 2011, and gave the participants a chance to explain to what extent the changes of the last decade have met or disappointed their expectations and aspirations.

At the start of the workshop, the participants were invited to make contributions based on their own experiences of the Arab Spring, before going on to discuss the changes their lives have been subjected to and, finally, the evolving nature of citizenship. We heard about advances in civil rights and personal freedoms, and an improvement in state institutions in Tunisia; about greater awareness of, and engagement with, the democratic process in Lebanon; about ongoing instability and transition in Sudan; and about continuing barriers to participation in the political process in Algeria. There was general agreement that the pace of reform remained frustratingly slow, yet the participants also showed an awareness that such fundamental change necessarily took time. There was widespread concern that economic advances everywhere lagged behind, and would eventually threaten or undermine advances made in the social and political spheres. Unemployment remains a key concern and the economic impact of the coronavirus is already being felt and will further exacerbate existing tensions. Though participants often spoke of country-specific issues, region wide patterns emerged, including the gap that remains between political actors and the societies they govern, and that too often the actions of those in government continues to fail to correspond with the needs of civil society.

The workshops will be made available in edited form as podcasts, and a report detailing the outcomes of the workshops will be made available for download from gingko.org.uk from April 2021.

The ‘Arab Spring: 10 Years On’ workshop series is a Gingko project organised in collaboration with ‘Arab Media and Transitions to Democracy’, and is co-funded by the British Academy: Sustainable Development Programme and Gingko.

Future workshops: 27 February 2021 / 27 March 2021
To participate in future workshops please contact: Barbara at barbara@gingkolibrary.com