Moroccan and International Scholars Revisit the Arab Spring



Ifrane, March 30, 2012 – Sixteen scholars from Germany, the U.S., and Morocco have gathered today to reflect upon the Arab Spring during a colloquium on “The ‘Arab Spring’ Revisited: Interpreting Political change in North Africa and the Middle East”, organized today by Al Akhawayn School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn campus in Ifrane. 

“As an international university striving to advance Morocco and engage the world, Al Akhawayn aims at contributing to international understanding and promoting dialogue across the world,” said President Driss Ouaouicha in his welcoming remarks. “Today, the conference will help us understand better our present and be more successful in planning our future.” 

The themes discussed during the colloquium relate to the political, economic, and social issues that are attached to the Arab Spring. The colloquium is meant to encourage reflection on the Arab Spring among different scholars from different backgrounds as well as critical and constructive discussions on issues of relevance to North African and Middle Eastern societies. 

“This is a very well-thought discussion on the 'Arab Spring’ and its various aspects that were either misrepresented or overblown in the media,” said William Lawrence, Director of the North Africa Project at the International Crisis Group and keynote speaker at the colloquium. Lawrence had further discussed and analyzed the Arab Spring, its reasoning, and its effect degree in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and other countries around the world. “We live in a changing world, and it is very important to understand the concept of “people vs. regimes”,” said Lawrence. 

Among the 15 scholars participating in the colloquium were Ginger Feather, University of Kansas in the U.S.; Karima El Ouazghari, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt in Germany; Saloua Zerhouni, Mohammed V University Souissi in Rabat, Morocco; in addition to faculty members from Al Akhawayn School of Humanities and Social Sciences.   


The colloquium comes at a time when Al Akhawayn School of Humanities and Social Sciences is launching its new master’s degree in North African and Middle Eastern Studies. The degree will contribute to the academic reflection on how to interpret the contemporary and exceptionally dynamic phase of North African and Middle Eastern politics. 

Dr. William Lawrence directs the North Africa Project for the International Crisis Group and has twenty-six years of experience working in and on the Maghreb and Egypt. Until recently, he was Senior Advisor for Global Engagement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). To read more about Lawrence’s biography, click here.

For more information on the papers presented at the colloquium, click here.