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Wayne Law conference to explore the Arab Spring and its implications in the U.S.

April 05, 2012

DETROIT (April 5, 2012) — Wayne State University Law School’s Program for International Legal Studies will host a conference titled “A Year in Tahrir: The Future of the Arab Spring and Its Implications in the U.S.” The conference will take place on Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at Wayne Law. The conference is free and open to the public.

The program will feature leading authorities on the issues surrounding last year’s revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that swept the Middle East and North Africa. Topics to be addressed include the origins and current status of the reform movements; the nature of the new political and legal systems emerging from the reforms; the role of international actors such as the United Nations and the United States; and the impact of the Arab Spring on American culture and politics. A full conference program is below.

“The Arab Spring has shaken societies in the region to their very core,” said Professor Gregory Fox, director of the Program for International Legal Studies at Wayne Law. “But their direction and outcome is far from clear. We are very excited to have so many prominent analysts of Middle East politics at Wayne Law to examine this critical moment in history.”

Conference speakers include: Marc Lynch, Elliot School of International Affairs, the George Washington University; Saeed Khan, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Washington, D.C.; Michael Hanna, The Century Foundation; and Khaled Elgindy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Wayne Law Program for International Legal Studies, the National Security Network and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

Please visit http://law.wayne.edu/international-studies/arab-spring.php for more information and to RSVP. For more information, email international.law@wayne.edu or call 313-444-6577.

Conference Program

8:30-9 a.m.
Registration

9-10:45 a.m.

Panel I – The Spark of the Revolution

Origins and Current Status of the Arab Spring Reform Movements

What are the conditions that led to the uprisings across the Arab World and how are the current transitions are playing out?
Panelists will explore the many difficult questions surrounding the sequencing of reforms, the inclusion (or exclusion) of various actors in the political process and transitional justice issues, with a particular focus on Egypt, Libya and Syria.

Panelists:  
•    Michael Hanna, The Century Foundation
•    Radwan Ziadeh, United States Institute of Peace
•    Heather Hurlburt, National Security Network
•    Moderator: Shireen Zaman, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding


10:45-11 a.m.
Break

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Panel II – The Foundations of a New Middle East?

A look at the legal, political, economic and civil society structures being developed in the region

What sorts of legal, political and economic models are in play in the various countries experiencing change? The panel will focus on issues surrounding constitution making, civil liberties, electoral systems, market/regulatory reforms and the protection of minority groups.

Panelists:
•    Khaled Elgindy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution
•    Abdullah Al-Arian, Wayne State University Department of History
•    Leila Hilal, New America Foundation
•    Moderator: Greg Fox, Wayne State University Law School


1-2:45 p.m.

Lunch Discussion
External Actors: Help or Hindrance

What Should be the Role of International Actors in the Transitions?

One remarkable aspect of the uprisings is that they are almost all completely indigenous in origin. What should be the role of other states and international organizations in states having cast off authoritarian regimes and those in which struggles are ongoing? Discussion will focus on the roles of the United States, the EU, the United Nations and the Arab League. The exception of Libya will be discussed. What accounts for the significant role played by outsiders in the Libya case but not in others? What are the lessons for countries in which reform struggles are ongoing, such as Syria and Bahrain?

Panelists:
•    Marc Lynch, George Washington University
•    Mark Goldberg, UN Dispatch

2:45-3 p.m.
Break

3-4:30
Panel IV – The Arab Spring and American Politics

The Arab Spring and Its Impact on American Culture and Politics
The Arab Spring offers a new framework for how Americans and those around the world view Arabs. The lens of “Arab as Terrorist” that was built in the last 10 years has the opportunity to be fundamentally altered to the Arab protestor fighting for freedom and democracy. Is this paradigm shift likely to happen? Will this impact the views of Arabs and Muslims in America? How are Arab Americans responding to the ongoing developments in the region?
Panelists:
•    Maya Berry, Arab American Institute
•    Imad Hamad, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
•    Fay Beydoun, American Arab Chamber of Commerce
•    Moderator: Saeed Khan, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding



4:30-6 p.m.
Reception
Law School Atrium

Refreshments courtesy of Habib's Cuisine

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