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Diplomacy Meetings



April 21, 2012  


The Arab Spring: A  Fourth Democratic Transition?


Professor Philippe Schmitter


In this roundtable meeting, Professor Schmitter addressed the different modes of transition from an autocratic government  into a democratic one, with emphasis on the Arab Spring.   


He asserted that the series of democratization began after world war I and world war II, and later on in Latin America. However, the conditions of transition are different depending on the spatial context. Thus democracy as a political arrangements with social and economic consolidation is much less appealing today than it was in 1974 and in the 1980’s in Latin America; because the timing is different and it occurs in a different context. After twenty - thirty years of democratization, a certain number of Latin American countries have shown that democracy eventually produces greater social and economic equality. As a result, democracy cannot possibly be in the Arab world as 'promising’ as it was in southern Europe and Latin America. Professor Schmitter also referred to the relationship between civil society organizations and political parties which complement one another. Yet the disconnection between civil society organizations and political parties seems particularly strong in the Arab world, which forms a problem.


On the one hand, he mentioned how the different modes of transition occur from above such as the Russian. On the other hand the transition in the Arab world is forced from below, which is the usual way to mobilize oppressed people. Near the end of the meeting, he claimed that the Arab democratization wave would be different from that in Europe and Latin America.  The big question regarding the Arab spring is: Can they organize themselves in a way that continues the struggle for democratization?



 Audio File


2012-PE0405 Lecture:

April 5, 2012


Lessons learned from the Negotiations, from the Madrid Conference until today


Mr. Hani Masri, Director of Palestine, research and Studies Centre- Badael


Mr. Masri began with introducing his definition of negotiations which is based on the readiness of both sides of compromising and receding. He confirmed that any dispute which the world witnesses should include one form of negotiations, with emphasizing on negotiations as a discipline and not as a Palestinian experience, and  importance of leaving out the idea of negotiations as a sin. Later on he elucidated one of the main principles of negotiations, which according to him, we did not follow during the Palestinian- Israeli negotiations. One of the main principles of negotiations is depicted in the preparedness of both sides to compromise, with having a background and clear expectations, and emphasis on the existence of red lines that should not be crossed. Moreover, Mr. Masri affirmed the importance of having a timetable for negotiations, because negotiations shouldn’t last forever. Even if negotiations extended, one should be cautious of the change of the negotiating teams which within the passage of time may become an open strategy to the apposing team. In case a mediator was present, one should be sure that he/she is honest with taking the needed procedures which monitors the implementation of the commitments required form both parties.

Mr Masri also indicated the importance of realizing that any negotiation reflects in terms of content, the imbalance of power which controls the nature of negotiations. He then confirmed the significance of putting forward alternatives and plausible scenarios which assist in the success of negotiations, or in worse cases helps in leaving the negotiation process with minimum damage.

Later on,  Mr. Masri discussed lessons learned from the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian- Israeli negotiations through referring to the past experience of the Madrid Conference until today. He gave a critical reading of the main stages of negotiations, and during the end of the lecture he answered students’ questions and discussed matters of negotiations and diplomacy with them

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