Contentious politics in the Middle East and North Africa

A conference where analysts and experts reflect on their experiences and lessons learned from a decade of upheaval and contention in the region since the Arab Spring.

Research event Recording
8 March 2023 — 9:00AM TO 6:30PM
Chatham House

Contentious Politics in MENA: Striving for change through formal political participation

— Formal political participation is an important channel that pro-reform activists and advocates in the MENA region have been using to push for political change.

The video on this page is of the first session from the conference.
To watch all four sessions, please visit our conference playlist on Youtube.

The mass protests of the Arab Spring in 2010 initiated a wave of mobilization across the Middle East and North Africa which has lasted more than a decade and taken many shapes: from formal political participation and informal politics to activism and cultural expression.

This conference seeks to assess what happened to the movements and agents involved in the Arab Spring uprisings and why, and show that these different forms of mobilization continue to be active despite the longevity of the status quo, conflicts, and authoritarian setbacks.

The conference brings together activists from across the Middle East to discuss their own experiences, and exchange views and lessons learned with peers from other Middle Eastern countries and the broader international community.

It is part of Chatham House’s project on contentious politics in the Middle East and North Africa since the Arab Spring. This project seeks to question the current prevalent discourse depicting the Arab Spring as a series of failed revolutions, by examining the evolution and interaction of contentious actors in the region, from social movements and activists to the political regimes and ruling elites.

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