HKS Hosts Film Screening & Discussion with Egyptian Activist Esraa Abdel Fattah

January 22, 2013
HKS Hosts Film Screening & Discussion with Egyptian Activist Esraa Abdel Fattah

A Whisper to a Roar Film Features Democracy Activists in Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe

Cambridge, Mass. – Egyptian Democratic Academy Activist Esraa Abdel Fattah, Slate Magazine Journalist Will Dobson, and Film Director Ben Moses will speak at a panel discussion moderated by HKS Professor Tarek Masoud about democratic movements in authoritarian regimes on January 28 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University directly following a film screening of the documentary A Whisper to a Roar.
 This free, public event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Wiener Auditorium, ground floor of the Taubman Building, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge.

A Whisper to a Roar seeks to explore what motivates people across the globe to risk their lives for democracy by following the compelling struggles of pro-democracy activists and political leaders in five authoritarian countries – Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. This film screening and discussion marks the first in a five-part tour around the country. Other events will take place at American University, the U.S. National Archives, Catholic University, and the U.S. State Department with simulcast screenings at U.S. embassies worldwide.

Moderator Tarek Masoud served as a key commentator in the film’s focus on Egypt and described former President Mubarak’s regime as one that “ruled by the fiction of democracy.” As a key scholar on the Middle East and a specialist on the Muslim Brotherhood, Masoud has become a go-to expert for the press, with appearances on National Public Radio, CNN, and PBS along with many other publications to offer context and commentary on both the 2011 Egyptian revolution as well as the country’s current struggles to achieve a more democratic government.

The film also highlights the social media prowess of activists Esraa Abdel Fattah Ahmed and others whose work leading up to the 18-day revolution in Egypt’s Tahrir Square resulted in imprisonment, torture, and for some, even death. During the event’s panel discussion, Ahmed will describe her role in the revolution and elaborate on if she continues to be optimistic that positive change will occur in Egypt, as she said in the film.

Cosponsored by Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Middle East Initiative of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the HKS A Whisper to a Roar screening kicks off the Ash Center’s spring Democracy Seminar series, which brings distinguished scholars to the Kennedy School to address critical challenges facing democratic governance and informs broader Center research bridging the wide gulf that separates the ideals of democracy from its imperfect practice in the real world.

Journalists interested in attending the event or to secure an advanced screening of the film should contact Kate Hoagland at (617) 495-4347.

For more information, contact:
Kate Hoagland
Ash Center

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit

About the Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center
The Middle East Initiative seeks to deepen Harvard Kennedy School's relationship with the governments, universities, and peoples of the Middle East by sponsoring programs and outreach efforts that promote intensive engagement with the region. For more information, visit