Please Join Us for a Special Forum on 

The Future of Democracy and U.S. Policy in the Middle East and North Africa

Friday, December 2, 2016
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – 1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
RSVP Here or email Anna Young at

Five years after pro-democracy revolts swept across North Africa and the Middle East, democracy in Arab countries appears more elusive than ever. With the exception of Tunisia, Arab states are either mired in violent conflict or ruled by authoritarian leaders doubling down on staying in power through repression. Western support for Arab democracy also has waned, and during his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump appeared to reject a role for the United States in advancing human rights abroad. But across the Arab world, the political and economic grievances that ignited the uprisings remain potent, and authoritarian governments are still failing to deliver prosperity, justice, or lasting security for their citizens. Another wave of popular unrest may roil the region, and if pro-democracy forces are unable to lead the demands for change, some fear that Islamic extremist groups could fill that void instead.

POMED is pleased to invite you to this special forum on December 2, featuring prominent pro-democracy voices from the Arab world and leading experts on U.S. policy examining regional political trends and the role of democracy advocates in an uncertain and turbulent time.


Panel 1 – Prospects for Democratic Change:  Views from the Arab World
10:00 am – 11:00 am
If the best path to long-term security and stability in the Middle East and North Africa is more accountable, legitimate governance, who are the indigenous advocates for democratic reform today and what are their strategies?  What lessons have been learned since 2011? How stable are the region’s authoritarian regimes?  And what do Arab democracy advocates want and need from the international community during this difficult period?

Moderator:  Kim Ghattas, Author and Journalist, BBC News

Amr Hamzawy, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Aboubakr Jamaï, Independent Moroccan journalist
Leila Fadel, Cairo Correspondent, NPR; Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, CFR
Amira Yahyaoui, Founder of Al Bawsala, a Tunisian transparency NGO

Panel 2 – Supporting Democracy and Human Rights in MENA Under President Trump
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump openly expressed admiration for authoritarian leaders who rule through brutal repression. The incoming U.S. administration is likely to double down on failed strategies of ensuring stability by partnering with repressive regimes. What tools and strategies should U.S. advocates for democracy and human rights in the Arab world use to support genuine democratic change?

Moderator: Michele Dunne, Director and Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

David Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy, McCain Institute
Sarah Margon, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch
Stephen McInerney, Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy