The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations,
The Maghreb Center,
The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies,
and The International Council for Middle East Studies
invite you to attend:
Constitutionalism and Human Rights in Tunisia:
The Islamist-Led Democratic Transition Post-Arab Spring
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
Kenney Auditorium - The Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tunisia is where the "Arab Spring" began. In its immediate aftermath it was the first country to elect an Islamist-majority transitional parliament.
The parliament, in turn, appointed an interim Islamist-dominated government. Since then, Tunisia has faced a bumpy road on the transition to democracy. Highlights of the ensuing developments have been a heightening of political tensions amid exacerbated economic problems and unemployment.
Recently, the situation culminated in the murder of a popular secular opposition leader, Chokri Belaid -- the first political assassination since the country's independence in 1956 -- and the resignation of Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali. The conference brings together leading American and Tunisian specialists, activists, and scholars to debate the main features, trends, and indications in Tunisia's Islamist-led transition.
Key topics will include the dynamics underway in drafting a new constitution, addressing the course of human rights, assessing the likely near-term outcome of demands for changes in women's rights, the status of media freedoms, and the prospects for meeting specific economic demands.
The event is free and open to the public.
Please R.S.V.P. (Acceptances Only) via email to
9:00-9:30 AM: Breakfast and Registration
9:30-10:30 AM: Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Washington, DC
Dr. Nejib Ayachi, President, The Maghreb Center, Washington DC
Dr. Mohamed Mattar, Executive Director, The Protection Project at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC
Dr. Issam Saliba, Secretary, International Council for Middle Eastern Studies, Washington DC
10:30-12:30 PM: Session 1: The Post Revolution Political and Constitutional Transitions
Moderator: Dr. I. William Zartman, Professor Emeritus, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC
"Overview of the Transitional Process in Tunisia Since the Revolution" -- Ms. Alexis Arieff, Analyst, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington DC
"The Role of the Ennahda Islamist Party and of the Salafi Movement in the Transition" -- Dr. Alaya Allani, Professor of History, Manouba University, Tunis
"The Constitutional Drafting Process and Challenges to a Democratic Transition in Tunisia" -- Dr. Ghazi Gherairi, Law Professor, University of Tunis, Tunis; Secretary General, The International Academy for Constitutional Law, Tunis
"The Economic Demands of the Tunisian Revolution" -- Dr. Ahmed El Hamri, Development Economist, Academia; Consultant, The World Bank
Questions and Answers
12:30-1:45 PM: Lunch
1:45-3:45 PM: Session 2: The Future of Women's Rights, Minority Rights, and Freedom of Expression in Tunisia
Moderator: Dr. Nejib Ayachi, President, The Maghreb Center, Washington DC
"Human Rights, Democratic Transition, and the New Constitution" -- Mr. Eric Goldstein, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch, Washington, DC
"Freedom of the Press in the New Tunisia Under the Islamist-Dominated Government" -- Ms. Naziha Réjiba, Journalist, Human rights activist, 2009 Recipient of the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Tunis
"Islamists and Women's Rights: The Need for Vigilance" -- Dr. Nancy Okail, Program Director, The Freedom House, Washington DC
Questions and Answers
3:45-4:00 PM: Concluding Remarks
"Islamists in Power and Democratic Transition: Can Tunisia be Considered an Example for other 'Arab Spring' Countries?" -- Dr. Nejib Ayachi, President, The Maghreb Center, Washington DC
About the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations: