Breakfast Study Group — Challenges and Prospects of Democracy in the Arab World (Session 3)


Thursday, September 22, 2022, 8:45am to 10:15am


WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Session three of the Democratization in the Arab World: Challenges and Prospects for the Future Study Group with former Tunisian president Dr. Moncef Marzouki will focus on the authoritarian state. Discussion topics will include:

  • The roots of the Arab state: Al assabia according to Ibn khaldoun the great Arab historian
  • The privatization of the state by family ‘’aristocracies’’ (Saudi Arabia), confessional ‘’aristocracies’’(Lebanon and Syria), military ‘’aristocracies’’ (Egypt, Algeria, Sudan), and economic aristocracies (Tunisia)
  • The permanent latent war between state and society
  • The terrible cost to move from the authoritarian State to the democratic State, from a people of subjects to a people of citizens (The ordeal of the Syrian people)

Participants will then debate the question: “How to deal with the state’s violence? Is non-violence the best long-term solution or does it serve the authoritarian state?”

This student group is now at capacity. 

About the Study Group  

With the process of democratization in the Arab world at a standstill, former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki is offering an 8-session fall semester study group for Harvard graduate and undergraduate students examining the challenges and future prospects for democracy in the region. As a political actor, policymaker, and practitioner with more than fifty years of experience working on issues related to human rights and democracy, President Marzouki’s study group is an opportunity for students to delve deep into the discussions on the ongoing democratization process in the region and what it reveals about the strengths and weaknesses of the Arab world and democracy itself.

In order to help foster a stronger sense of community amongst study group attendees, we ask that students commit to participating in most if not all of the 8 fall semester sessions.

Please note that this-in person study group is open to Harvard ID holders only.

Breakfast will be provided.

About the Study Group Convenor 

Dr Moncef Marzouki is a senior fellow with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation’s Democracy in Hard Places Initiative. He is a former professor of public health at the University of Sousse (Tunisia) and Paris (France) as well as the former president of Tunisia.

Register for Future Sessions