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A crisis of Arab governance

Published: Monday, 30th June 2014

The Director's Note following our recent conference on “The Arab awakening three years on: were the pessimists right?” is now published online.

The conference was held at Ditchley Park from 5 - 7 June.  It is possible that, had it taken place a week or two later, the deliberations would have reached some different conclusions, given the events unfolding in Iraq. Even as it was, there were many round the table who struggled to be optimistic about the immediate future for a region which was as yet only a small part of the way through a transitional process - a process that has so far proved more difficult and traumatic than those seeking change could have envisaged. It was agreed that the demands which ignited the uprisings in the first place - for greater freedom, equity and economic opportunity – remained valid, but worried that in many cases they were further than ever from being met. The region was facing “a crisis of Arab governance” as states and citizens struggled to redefine their roles.

However, in spite of the temptation to be gloomy, participants were at pains to remain positive and to steer the debate towards practical ways forward. These are reflected in the Director’s Note summarising the discussions which is available to read in full by clicking here.