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'Listening to Unfamiliar Voices - The Arab Democratic Wave' - Brussels book launch

30 March 2012

The latest EUISS book ‘Listening to Unfamiliar Voices – The Arab Democratic Wave’ was launched in Brussels on 30 March 2012. The book, written by the EUISS Director Álvaro de Vasconcelos, was presented to Ambassadors, high profile journalists and EU officials in attendance. 

The event was opened the by Álvaro de Vasconcelos explaining how the EU should support the democratic transition in the Middle East and seek to avoid dividing the emerging political groupings of the Arab world simply into secularist and Islamic camps.

Speeches were then held by Mr. Khaled Hamza Abbas of the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt), and Mr. Ajmi Lourimi of Ennahda (Tunisia). Mr. Abbas spoke of the crucial role of rural Egyptians in their newly established democracy and Mr. Lourimi described how the recently written Tunisian constitution has been designed with the inclusion of all Tunisian citizens in mind rather than facilitating majoritarian rule.

A session then followed in which those in attendance posed questions about the role of Islamic Sharia law in constitution writing, the dangers of potential war with Iran and the role of democracy in maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East. Copies of the book, which can be downloaded from the EUISS website here, were also distributed to participants.