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Revisiting the Arab Spring

February 3, 2015 @ 6:00 PM - 8:15 PM

$5 - $25

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Four years ago, a Tunisian street vendor’s self-immolation sparked protests that resulted in the unexpected exit of Tunisia’s president after 23 years in power. By February of 2012, popular protests throughout the region led to rulers being forced from power in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen. Civil protests of varying size were seen in Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, and Kuwait. But four years on, the Arab Spring has lost its momentum and the outcomes from this popular-led movement appear neither universal nor permanent.

Egypt’s first free parliamentary elections brought Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi to the presidency in 2012. A year later, protests and a military coup deposed Morsi and led to the installment of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after elections in which most political parties did not participate. The 2011 overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was followed by the 2014 elections of two rival governments with warring militias, with ongoing instability in the country the only certain result. Popular unrest in Syria in 2011 has turned to a deadly civil war and humanitarian crisis, with President Bashar al-Assad refusing to step down while western allies, specifically the U.S. and Turkey, struggle to find a common approach to manage the fallout of the rise of the Islamic State.

How have Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan maintained relative stability, while others fell into disarray? What are the main factors contributing to the stark contrasts in outcomes of the Arab Spring? What are the political, economic, and civil implications of this movement?

On February 3, join the World Affairs Council to explore these questions and review major events and trends over the last four years in North Africa and the Middle East.

Our panelists will include:

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, PhD

ulrichsenKristian Coates Ulrichsen is an affiliate faculty member at the Jackson School of International Studies who specializes in the history and politics of the modern Middle East, with particular emphasis on the Persian Gulf region. Working across the disciplines of political science, international relations and international political economy, his research examines the repositioning of the Persian Gulf states in the global order and the emergence of long-term, nontraditional challenges to regional security. Coates Ulrichsen also serves as a research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and as an associate fellow at Chatham House in London. He is the author of the books Insecure Gulf: The End of Certainty and the Transition to the Post-Oil Era, The First World War in the Middle East, and Qatar and the Arab Spring and is the editor of The Transformation of the Gulf: Politics, Economics, and the Global Order and The Political Economy of Arab Gulf States. He previously directed a research program on the Gulf States at the London School of Economics. Dr. Ulrichsen received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. 

Matthew Tirman, CEO and Founder of Access Global

Matt has more than a decade of operations, business development and investment experience primarily in emerging and frontier markets, working within a culturally diverse range of sectors and industries in the US, EMEA and Asia. He previously served as the the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Strategic Social, a technology and consulting firm operating in frontier markets across the Middle East and North Africa.

As the first employee at Strategic Social, he was responsible for the overall revenue generation, operations, and strategic direction of the firm and was integral to the acquisition of the company by Constellis Group, a private equity backed integrated security company in January 2014. During his time at Strategic Social Matt led a number of successful business development and growth efforts for the company to include commercializing the company’s service offerings for Middle East markets, securing multi-million dollar technology and logistics projects, and penetrating new high growth markets.

Before joining Strategic Social, Matt was an executive with Accenture and during his tenure there directed a number of projects aimed at helping customers in the public and commercial sectors develop innovative communication strategies, plans and corporate performance management strategies. He also has worked as a Senior Consultant for CapGemini, a French global IT and consulting firm, a Speechwriter for the Commanding General of the United States Army Reserve, and as an analyst focused on international security, economic affairs, and armaments cooperation for the United States Department of Defense.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from East Carolina University and an M.A. in International Relations from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. He has lectured on economic development, media and law, as well as emerging market investment at Oxford University, Georgetown University, and the University of Washington. He lives in Seattle with his wife Christina and their four children.

Jawed Zouari, PhD

Zouari pictureProfessor Jawed Zouari holds a Ph.D. in History and an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington. He received his B.A. in Political Science and foreign languages from Portland State University.

He is currently professor of Political Science at Seattle Central College and lives with his family in Seattle, Washington. He also taught as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington, Seattle University, the University of Idaho, the University of Tunis, and Qatar University.

Professor Zouari has presented a number of research papers at international conferences in the United States, Europe, and the Arab World. He has conducted several field research projects on Tunisia’s economic, political, and social development. The focus of his current research is on democratic transition and economic reform in the “Arab Spring” states.

He is the recipient of two Fulbright Scholarships in 2003-2005 and 2013-2014 academic years, and taught International Relations and International Affairs at University of Tunis and Qatar University, respectively.

Alex Stonehill (moderator)Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Seattle Globalist

AlexStonehill-350x250Alex is a journalist who’s reported from over a dozen countries, including Syria, Iraq and Pakistan. His work has been published by PBS, The Seattle Times, FRONTLINE/World and the Seattle Weekly. He recently directed the award-winning documentary BARZAN, about an Iraqi refugee family in the northwest ripped apart by a terrorism accusation. Alex teaches journalism in the University of Washington’s Department of Communication.



1781899_10155087696540553_9186171549254959307_nPrior to the panel discussion, editorial and commercial photographer Genevieve Hathaway will present her project War on Walls, a photography exhibit that documents Egypt’s most iconic, important, and provocative Arab Spring street art. In this presentation, Genevieve will cover the Egyptian Arab Spring street art movement, how it arose, and its trajectory throughout the Arab Spring. She will address the important socio-political impact the street art had in Egypt, the actual change it spurred, and how the artists are creatively using complex street art and ideas of social and political art in public spaces to push social, political, and economic change in Egypt. Key murals will be discussed within the context of the art movement, as well as the larger impact and influence this art movement had across the Middle East.

This is an event you do not want to miss! Registration and an included wine reception starts at 5:30 PM.

Free parking is available at this venue. The event will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Bloedel Hall on Capitol Hill (10th Avenue East Seattle, 98102). Enter the parking lot across from E Galer St off of 10th Ave E. Drive to the left of the Cathedral to the main parking lot, where you can enter Bloedel Hall directly. 


February 3, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:15 PM
$5 - $25
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St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
10th Avenue East