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The role of external actors in political reforms in the Arab world

11 April 2011

The seminar aimed at exploring the role of external actors (governments, civil society, parliaments, media, and private sector) in political reforms in the Arab world. The objective was to voice Arab views, expectations and reservations vis-à-vis the West. Against the backdrop of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the region is entering a new phase of transition. Political developments on the ground have outstripped Western strategies that followed the logic of promoting reform within existing regimes and raise the challenge of accompanying political transitions after revolutionary processes.

The seminar sought out a critical assessment of the Western actions:

• Where did the West get it right in accompanying genuine and sustainable political reforms?
• Where did the West have the right intentions, but did not choose the right means or timing?
• Where did the West act as a spoiler of reform?
• Where should the West have acted, but did not?

These questions were examined through an Arab lens, in discussion with Western researchers and decision-makers.