MENA » Overview

Following the so-called "Arab Spring" in 2011, Salzburg Global Seminar developed a series of meetings and program activities focused on Reform and Transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. The series provided a forum in which to explore systematically the key elements needed for building more open democratic societies in the region, notably by examining models that have been tried in other regions and countries where major political and social transformations have occurred within the last few decades, including central and eastern Europe, Indonesia, Latin America, South Africa, and Turkey.

Working in partnership with a number of institutions in the region, Salzburg Global facilitated an examination and comparative analysis of various reform models to help expand knowledge and understanding, among those seeking to bring about change in the MENA region; of how these models were implemented and what were the results - positive and negative, intended and unintended. What questions do those who worked for change in these other countries wish they had asked, what information do they wish they had drawn on, what might they caution reformers in the MENA region against doing or encourage them to consider doing? What was, or might have been, the role of a surrounding regional community, and of the international community? What technical support might policy-makers, civil society activists, philanthropists or academics receive from their counterparts in other countries?


New guide for philanthropy in times of transition published
New guide for philanthropy in times of transition published
Oscar Tollast 
The Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) and the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo (Gerhart Center) have published a guide on supporting countries in transition. ‘Supporting Countries in Transition: A Framework Guide for Foundation Engagement’ aims to help private funders act with maximum effect when opportunities for disproportionately positive impact arise in the context of transitions out of conflict or repression. During the making of the guide, the authors partnered with Salzburg Global Seminar on a session in December 2012 entitled, ‘Philanthropy in Times of Crisis and Transition: Catalyzing Forces of Change’. It produced a set of key issues and questions that became the basis for 25 in-depth individual interviews and four donor roundtable meetings that later formed part of the research for the report. Mark Freeman, Executive Director at the Institute for Integrated Transitions, said the guide offers a tailored framework for private grant-making foundations. “This is the first report written for the private foundation sector that offers a framework for them to conduct their grant-making, and provide other forms of support. “It’s one that focuses on the risks but even more on the opportunities and draws on lessons from the sector itself.” The idea for the guide was born upon Mr Freeman and Dr Barbara Ibrahim, Director at the John D. Gerhart Center, being invited to speak to a group of private philanthropic donors from both Europe and the United States, shortly after the Tunisian uprising. Dr Ibrahim said: “In the course of talking to the donors that were there, listening to each other’s presentations, we realized that there’s a lot of collective wisdom on the part of private philanthropy that’s never been collected in one place. “Our hope is that this will be a guide that helps those new to the transition grant-making field, but also those who have some experience before who can benefit from it, can begin to become more collaborative and be truly supportive as transitions take place around the world.” Mr Freeman said the timing seemed right to pull together the foundation sector’s lessons learned from decades of experience of transitions. “In the context of the Arab Spring, a lot of foundations are struggling to define their engagement and I think have become somewhat reluctant become some of the more failed examples. “Yet there are a much greater number of positive examples and that’s what we try and draw upon.” The publication is split into three sections. The first focuses on the main challenges and opportunities of contemporary transitions, whilst the second looks at the roles and strengths of the foundation sector itself. Mr Freeman said: “When we speak of transitions in this guide, we’re speaking of transitions out of authoritarian rule, as well as out of civil war. We also take a broad approach to defining foundations, while focusing on their comparative advantages in relation to other aid actors.” The report’s third section sets out a framework called, ‘Informed Risk-taking for Disproportionate Outcomes’, which outlines two basic rules for the foundation community when a transition arises. Mr Freeman said: “First of all, [a foundation] should see transitions as invitations for action. It should be thinking proactively about becoming engaged because transitions represent an opportunity – a brief window of opportunity – when they can have a disproportionately positive outcome with their investment.” Nevertheless, Mr Freeman warned that an additional level of due diligence was required for this period of change. He said: “[Transitions] involve all kinds of complicated challenges that really need to be anticipated and because there is such a wealth of experience in over 40 years of transitions around the world on every continent, there’s a lot to draw upon.” The framework set out by the guide provides advice on how foundations can take decisions about their engagement in a transitional setting, looking at practical issues as who to fund, how long to stay and how to measure impact. The guide, which for now only exists in English, is being translated into Arabic and will have additional material about the specifics of the Arab uprisings. Salzburg Global recently held a session with the Arab Human Rights Fund entitled, ‘Getting Transition Right: A rights-based approach towards Diversity and Inclusivity’. The session focused on four key countries in the midst of transitions that could pilot new approaches to diversity management for the Arab region: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. Mr Freeman said the guide would have particular relevance in the context of the current transitions in the Arab world, but equally in transitions in places as different as Burma, the Ivory Coast, and Colombia. IFIT and the Gerhart Center now plan to present the guide to a wide range of donor audiences and interested foundations, following various invitations they have received. He said: “We see the publication as a starting point for what we hope will become a very in-depth but ongoing conversation with, and within, the foundation sector.” Mr Freeman and Dr Ibrahim joined 28 foundation and development leaders at last year’s Salzburg Global session on ‘Philanthropy in Times of Crisis and Transition: Catalyzing Forces of Change’. The session helped both institutions take away “essential questions” that would help shape the structure of interviews and roundtable meetings subsequently conducted with foundation leaders and transition experts. Whilst the rich amount of data collected from individual interviews confirmed a lot of Dr Ibrahim’s previous observations, she suggested there was still much to take away. Dr Ibrahim said: “One thing that really heartened me was to see a number of organizations drawing out from their past experiences prior policy statements about how they will respond to transitions, actually setting aside contingency funds to be ready the next time an unexpected event like this occurs. “What that means is that there will be a much quicker response time and more systematic and thoughtful responses.” Both Mr Freeman and Dr Ibrahim described Salzburg Global’s role in the development of the guide as significant, helping to generate discussions and major ideas later pursued in the report. Dr Ibrahim said: “It was the first gathering of handpicked selected individuals that we knew would be just the right mix of backgrounds and experience to brainstorm together.” Mr Freeman shared similar sentiments, describing Salzburg Global as a “fantastic piece” of the whole story. He said: “It offered a chance for us to really go in-depth with a group of knowledgeable and experienced people from the sector and to give early form to the framework that we ultimately developed.”
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Ahmed Gebreel: "It was about dignity and respect"
Ahmed Gebreel: "It was about dignity and respect"
Oscar Tollast 
Political advisor Ahmed Gebreel has suggested a lack of human rights played a fundamental role in the build up to the Libyan Revolution. Mr Gebreel was the first diplomat to defect from Muammar al-Gaddafi’s regime and publicly announce his support for the Libyan Revolution. "Some people believe that the revolution was about prosperity, a good life, money, [and] a modern country. "I think it was about dignity and respect, human rights, and protection. Gaddafi’s regime violated the basic human rights in Libya: access to good education, health, the environment." "Forget about free speech and gender equality. Even these rights, which everybody in a country like Libya should have – a rich country – we did not have." Mr Gebreel served as deputy ambassador of Libya in London. He suggested those who worked within the Foreign Office were afforded the opportunity to interact with people from other countries and explore the world. "I found during my work in the Foreign Office that diplomats were the most educated and most aware about the state Libya was in compared to other countries." Mr Gebreel suggested frustrations began to boil between 2008 and 2009 after a lack of reforms under Muammar al-Gaddafi’s regime. "When the revolution started, I think we were all enthusiastic about it but we were also very worried about the response of the Gaddafi regime from the very beginning. "We expected the revolution to be very bloody and this unfortunately is what happened." Mr Gebreel described to Salzburg Global the steps that led to him declaring his support for the revolution. "The first day, when I was walking in the street filming what was happening, I was a little bit hesitant to express myself in public and to talk to the media." It was when Mr Gebreel visited a hospital the following day to film those injured when he took the decision to inform the world what was happening and support those against Muammar Gaddafi's regime. "It just happened on that day when I saw what was happening: the violation of human rights, the killing of civilian people who were demonstrating in the streets demanding their basic rights. All the hesitation went off." When Mr Gebreel chose to announce his support for the revolution, he had to overcome a number of obstacles. Based in the east of Libya at the time, he was unable to access the Internet or make any international phone calls. He left for Egypt to email and call several people around the world: New York, Washington, D.C., London, and Cairo. He then came back to Libya. "People didn’t have any idea about what was happening in the country. Gaddafi closed off the country. There was no Internet. The borders weren’t very open, except for Libyans, and there were no phone calls. "I started receiving so many phone calls from the media from organizations, and even from the UN Security Council." Mr Gebreel served as a political coordinator in the UN Security Council representing Libya. He revealed people working on behalf of the U.S. and Russia started to contact him and ask him to describe the situation. A number of senior Libyan public officials began to renounce the Gaddafi government or resign from their positions upon the use of force against protestors, including Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Minister of Justice at the time. Mr Gebreel said he was asked by Mr Jalil's son to announce his father's resignation on air whilst speaking to Al Ahrar TV. "When I announced the resignation in the evening, I came back home and Al Ahrar TV called me and said, ‘Tripoli is denying your announcement this morning about Mustafa Jalil’.” This led to Mr Gebreel contacting Mr Jalil to confirm what had happened. A phone interview was then later set up with the TV station for Mr Jalil to officially announce his resignation. "From that day we started working together trying to form a body in the city and then we got calls and contact from other cities. “We started talking about a bigger body for the whole country, which was later established as the National Transitional Council." Mr Jalil went on to become Chairman of the National Transitional Council, whilst Mr Gebreel served as a political advisor. Mr Gebreel has worked in various capacities with multiple human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Since the beginning of the revolution, Mr Gebreel has focused much of his work on human rights in Libya. He returned to Libya as he wanted to live in his country whilst important changes took place. “We have seen so many violations of human rights. I think this constitutes a grave concern for us. This goes against the principles of the revolution. "I think the overwhelming majority of the Libyan people condemn these violations and we are trying to find a way in preventing such violations." Mr Gebreel explained to Salzburg Global that a number of methods are being explored to prevent violations from being repeated. This included a national conference held in May 2012, attended by international actors such as the United Nations and Human Rights Watch. "Fortunately, the group that organized the conference, most of them were involved in the work of the National Transitional Council at the beginning of the revolution. "They felt more responsible in bringing this issue, dealing with it and trying to find a solution not just to prevent these violations but at least minimize the violations." A strong supporter and defender of human rights, Mr Gebreel spoke to Salzburg Global whilst attending a session co-organized with the Arab Human Rights Fund: 'Getting Transition Right: A rights-based approach towards Diversity and Inclusivity'. He revealed he was initially hesitant about coming to the session, feeling that he wasn't the right person to attend. But after participating in a number of workshops, he left "very, very satisfied". "The subject that has been discussed is the core issue for what’s happening now in Libya, for the obstacle facing the country from moving forward is the attempt by some political groups to dominate the whole political, economic and social life in Libya. "I think it’s very important for all countries in the region but in particular for Libya to recognize and realize how important this topic is." Mr Gebreel suggested there was a "denial for diversity" in Libya and that he would look to promote the significance of the issue for Libya's benefit. "What I will try to do is work with civil society organizations in Libya. I am a candidate for the constitutional committee. "Even if I am not elected, I will still work with them and highlight this issue and try to bring it to the public eye as much as I can."
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Amal Basha: "I am fortunate to be here"
Amal Basha: "I am fortunate to be here"
Oscar Tollast 
The Chairperson of the Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) has praised Salzburg Global for providing her the opportunity to hear new ideas. Amal Basha, who also acts as an advisor for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and for the Ministry of Human Rights in Yemen, was visiting to take part in the session: ‘Getting Transition Right: A Rights-based Approach towards Diversity & Inclusivity’. Described as Yemen’s most prominent advocate for human rights, Ms Basha defends the rights of women, prisoners and refugees, and fights for more political freedoms. In our latest podcast, she discusses the work provided by the Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights, the challenges that have existed in Yemen during the transitional process and objectives for the future. Ms Basha has previously served as program officer for the UNDP, and worked closely with the UN, the International Human Rights Law Group, and the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation in Yemen. In 2009, Ms Basha presented a comprehensive report on torture in Yemen to the United Nations. Prior to this, Ms Basha was head of Section for Bilateral Relations and then for International Organizations at the Ministry of Economy, Supply and Trade in Yemen, before becoming the head of Section for Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Industry. In 2003, Ms Basha attended an exploratory meeting as part of Salzburg Global's gender series.
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Sherine El Taraboulsi: "It is very diverse"
Sherine El Taraboulsi: "It is very diverse"
Oscar Tollast 
An international development Ph.D candidate at the University of Oxford has suggested countries within the Arab region are facing their own individual philanthropic challenges. Sherine El Taraboulsi, a Weidenfeld scholar at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, recently attended a Salzburg Global session co-organized with the Arab Human Rights Fund: 'Getting Transition Right: A Rights-based Approach towards Diversity & Inclusivity’. The session focused on four key countries in the midst of transition in the Middle East and North Africa region. Ms El Taraboulsi has 10 years of experience in research and analysis of philanthropic practices and citizen engagement in the Arab region. She served as project manager for the USAID-funded Regional Partnership on Culture and Development Program, which produced applied research on development in seven Arab countries. Prior to this, she launched a research programme at the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo (AUC), where she led a number of regional research projects as well as the Takaful Annual Conference on Arab Philanthropy and Civic Engagement. Her recent research has focused on Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt with the focus on the influence of socio-political transitions on resource mobilization, philanthropic landscape, formal and informal types of citizen mobilisation, and youth civic engagement. In an extended Q&A with Salzburg Global, Ms El Taraboulsi reviews the philanthropic landscape that exists in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. She also discusses a number of challenges these countries face. In terms of the philanthropic landscape that exists within the Arab region, could you elaborate as to what it is? There is a need to recognise that the philanthropic landscape within the Arab region is somewhat diverse. There are similarities in terms of the challenges that face the landscape, but it is very diverse. Generalizations are helpful but reductive. More often than not in international gatherings and in meetings they tend to look at it as one unit of analysis. The truth of the matter is, however, that when I look back over the past 10 years and I reflect on the emergence of the sector, strategic philanthropy, that is, within the region, I realize that each country I focused on had its own particular experience, its share of challenges as well as opportunities. Your research focused on Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. To begin with, could you please tell us how a philanthropic sector emerged in Tunisia? Tunisia does not have a term called ‘foundation’ within its regulatory framework, that which governs civil society organizations. You do have organizations that refer to themselves as a ‘fondation’ nevertheless but as far as laws go, most references address associations and societies. Nevertheless, you do get a number of foundations or institutions that function as both foundations as well as implementers, with a wide range of activities at the grassroots level. It is very interesting to look at how the conceptual confusion we have regarding the sector and how those concepts manifest themselves on the ground. We think we’re using the same language and that it means the same thing to all of us but we really aren’t. There are no clear lines of demarcation separating one thing from the other; a foundation for example from an organization and so for the most part, we operate within very flexible hybrids. Back to the Tunisian context; Tunisia went from - what I call – ‘propaganda philanthropy’ in the period under Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the family of his wife, Leïla Trabelsi - who controlled and monopolized a lot of the wealth in that country - to a period where there was an extensive focus on humanitarian aid. [This] was during the launch of the revolution in 2011. Then, right now, [you have] a period of reflection; the initial spike has somewhat receded and now organizations face the challenge of sustainability. If they want to continue to exist, they need to figure out a plan for themselves, start thinking long term while meeting short term needs that continue to emerge with the continuous mobilization in the country. What effect has the revolution had on the philanthropic sector in Tunisia? The revolution is still ongoing. They are still going through a number of sociopolitical changes, most importantly of course the constitutional process, the drafting and finishing of the constitution, and as those changes take place the philanthropic landscape shifts very rapidly. Think of philanthropy as both the mirror and the locale within which the dynamics of political power reveal themselves. An analysis of power relations is definitely inherent to our understanding of resource mobilization in transition. One of the changes in Tunisia is that you witnessed a shift in focus. Under Ben Ali, while there were human rights organizations and others that focused on development; the majority focused on cultural activities, more than 60% in fact. It was a way to keep on the safe side and to avoid confrontations with Ben Ali’s regime. Most of the resources that were mobilized focused on cultural activities, exchanges between different countries, European countries and Tunisia, women’s rights – not that women’s rights aren’t important, but again it depends on how you approach the question – and it was self-congratulatory: a self-congratulatory type of philanthropy. You get that in Libya too with the Gaddafi Foundation. Then, during the revolution, because of the focus on humanitarian aid, people started leveraging resources and you witnessed citizens – not necessarily the big money, the mega philanthropists, [and] those big billionaires coming through. And this is important. You actually witnessed the citizens coming together and starting to form alliances amongst themselves in order to meet needs taking place on the ground. The mega philanthropists, often center-staged, were, in fact, marginal in comparison. In the period that immediately followed the ousting of Ben Ali, you got the emergence of a large number of organizations that would function as foundations, providing funding, or collecting funds, or implementing projects on the ground. At that point in time, the numbers vary of course, but one of the interesting figures and which is quite telling, is that in the period from January to September 2011, you had around 1,044 organizations emerge. This in itself, even though I’m very skeptical about numbers, is very significant about that effervescence within the sector and it also demonstrates the will of the people, that grassroots, “bottom-up” agency to turn things around. From 2012 to 2013, an expected shift takes place. Some of those newly formed organizations started disappearing from the public realm. This is expected because they had emerged to meet an immediate need but they could not develop the necessary structures for sustainability. Another shift is a shift in focus. Organizations started realizing that if they wanted to bring impact, they will have to move outside the center and start targeting marginalized areas. The revolution was a very sobering experience for them; the wave of change came from beyond the center, Mohammed Bouazizi’s Sidi Bouzid had been marginalized under Ben Ali but it was where the Revolution started. So, funders and philanthropists started realizing that if they really wanted to turn things around, they needed to focus on areas outside of the center. You get a focus on development and a geographic shift in that regard. How would you compare Libya against Tunisia with regards to developments in its philanthropic sector? Libya has a somewhat similar experience in terms of moving from propaganda philanthropy with the Gaddafi Foundation to humanitarian aid and then to more strategic types of philanthropy, still in the making though. Propaganda in Libya was notorious, it was in your face; as atrocities were taking place in Libya, the bou Selim prison for example, you had a foundation preaching human rights to the world. This came hand in hand with the rise of Saif al Islam Gaddafi. As for the funds, most accounts point towards the fact that the funding came from the Libyan people. It was from the wealth of the country itself, which was in need. This is an example of 'propaganda philanthropy': when philanthropy is not there to meet a need – the needs of the people – but is there to serve a political purpose to project an exterior that is very different from what’s happening on the ground. How was the philanthropic sector affected during the revolution? During the revolution, you got a moment of humanitarian aid. But in Libya something else also happened. Reasons for this are that before the revolution, you did not have a civil society. Tunis had some of civil society, even if it had a cultural focus. Libya had no experience whatsoever. What happened was that with the focus on humanitarian aid it led to the emergence of a huge number of organizations from both the East and the West. They started forming coalitions and the reasons for this are that they started asking questions about impact, about sustainability and about reaching beneficiaries. How could they reach beneficiaries in the best way possible? Interviews I conducted in Libya left me quite impressed; they asked the right questions without having been through the experience of a civil society as in Egypt and Tunisia. Coalitions started forming coalitions amongst themselves and the flux is still on going. What are some of the challenges facing philanthropic practices in Libya right now? One of the challenges that are facing philanthropy and philanthropic practices in Libya right now is regionalism. Libya is an extremely divided country – both historically and geographically. It is divided by history. It is divided by tribalism. It is divided really by the wounds that have been accumulated from the beginning of the Italian occupation and even before that all the way until the present. One of the shocking figures is that with the end of the Italian occupation, there were only seven university graduates in this country: seven university graduates. They had to bear the burden of rebuilding a country from nothing. The Italians left Libya with roads and buildings, but they didn’t leave anything behind: no education [and] no capacity to build the country and put it on the map. This is just one example of how difficult it is and how historically divided Libya has been. Regionalism is a problem that persists to this very day. You get coalitions forming in the East that are not necessarily communicating with coalitions forming in the West. There have been attempts by a number of international and local organizations to bring them to talk together. I remember I was in Tripoli at the end of 2012, and we organized a meeting through the British Council, where we brought together civil society activists and philanthropists from all over the country – from East, West and South. I was amazed at some of the comments the Libyans made about how it was the first time for them to meet one another. The other thing that you need to take into consideration is also the media. The US for example is a country that is a continent: it’s very big. People from New York do not necessarily meet people from California, or what have you, but there is a set of institutions that guarantee linkages. There’s a common history; there’s a common memory. There are structures that provide that. Libya didn’t have any of this. The only thing that seemed to pull them together in the eye of the world outside was – ironically - Gadaffi, the very thing that divided them. What did you discover about Egypt’s relationship with the philanthropic sector during your research? It has a very different history of philanthropy. Civil society is very old in Egypt. It’s very big. It’s dysfunctional in so many different ways, just because of the sheer size of it. You have huge numbers of organizations; very few of them are impactful, sustainable and really focus on the ground making change at a grassroots level. What happened in Egypt in general is that philanthropy rose at the point in 2011 during the revolution and you had citizen philanthropy coming through, leveraging huge resources. One foundation, I recall, managed to leverage 100,000 Egyptian pounds in just one day for Tahrir Square. Nevertheless, the big philanthropists froze, and as is the case in Tunisia, citizens came through, and in very creative ways, both on and off line. In the period following the Revolution, a lot of wealth left the country. A lot of wealth in Egypt froze because it wanted to see where the tide would turn – and the tide is still in flux. We’ve had three regime changes so far and we’re still going forward. Resource mobilization at those critical moments in history requires a degree of bravery from philanthropists that’s not always there, and a degree of knowledge that’s not always there. Nevertheless, you’ve still got some bright examples. There’s the Mansour Foundation, for example, where members of staff within the foundation itself volunteered to have their salaries cut in order to make sure that the money kept flowing and reached the beneficiaries. They were not asked to do so, they did it out of sheer dedication. What’s your biggest takeaway from the session? I have a number of takeaways from this session. One is the need for intellectual bravery; the need to ask hard questions and be willing to get out of your mental comfort zone; this is the only way change happens, and change starts in the head. The Salzburg Global Seminar provided a much-needed global and regional lens on things. It also brought together the academics with the practitioners, and that is very unique, because we rarely speak to one another. My research scope had been regional – now focused on Libya and Italy – but I’ve had the chance to discuss some of my ideas with a very diverse and intelligent audience. We’re all leaving, not only with new networks, but also with ideas for things that we want to take forward, for op-eds that we’re going to co-author together. And most importantly, we want to develop those ideas into action. [We have] a new understanding of diversity and inclusion as concepts [and] whatever challenges they face within the region. Ultimately, I think the most important thing is that it places the region in a global context. There is a lot of talk about the Arab Spring and I think this is becoming very narrow, and it’s becoming very incestuous in that regard. It really is a global spring and the Arab world needs to start approaching itself. It needs to be approached as well as part of a global context. This is what the seminar partly achieved or put us on a path towards.
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Returning With Renewed Purpose
Returning With Renewed Purpose
Louise Hallman 
Forty-five Fellows from the four focus countries – all currently in transition from authoritarian regimes to more open and participatory systems following the “Arab Spring” or dignity revolutions – and a further ten other countries spent five days at Salzburg Global Seminar discussing and debating a variety of key issues related to transitions, including the role of law and policy making in diversity management and the general post-revolution landscapes in the four countries. These plenary sessions, led by experts from across and beyond the region, fed into the country-focused working groups, which presented recommendations on the final day. The four country groups each took different approaches to tackling the issues of diversity, marginalization and improved social and political inclusion, appropriate for each country, as despite all going through similar political transitions, each country has different minority and marginalized communities and different resulting difficulties to deal with. Yemen For Yemen, the poorest and arguably the least stable of the four countries, the Fellows chose not to focus on a minority but on a majority group that has long-faced marginalization: women. Despite their role in the protests, many women now feel that they have now been told: “Thank you, you’ve gone out on to the streets, you have protested, your job is over and now it is [the men’s] job.” Whilst women are not barred from public office, out of the 301 seats in the Yemeni Parliament, only one elected politician is female, and she was only elected thanks to a concerted cross-party effort. Even when women do manage to get involved in political life in Yemen they are most often “delegated to the ‘soft’ issues”. Outside of politics, women are even further marginalized. According the Yemen participants, they make up just over 8% of salaried, formal workers, with most expected to maintain roles in the home and nothing further. Over half of the female Yemeni population doesn’t receive even a basic education, with only one third receiving a secondary school level of education. Child marriage is also an issue of great concern in country. According to UNICEF, almost a third of girls were married by the age of 18 between 2002 and 2011, with more than one in ten married by the time they were just 15 years old. To tackle these problems faced by Yemeni women, the Yemen delegation called for a 30% quota for women in the executive, legislative and judiciary, with 50% of the drafting constitutional committee to be women also; affirmative action policies would be needed to help find the right women to fill so many roles. To help women’s access to education, health care and other public services, they called for the formation of a Women’s National Commission to address budgetary needs for women’s education and provision of free healthcare to women from low-income families. Since hitting the headlines, and thanks to video advocacy campaigns of groups such SupportYemen, the child bride issue is now on the table for discussion as part of the national transition dialog. The Yemeni Salzburg Fellows and their supporters in their working group called for a new age limit on marriage to be set at 18. The working group for Yemen also called for criminalization of domestic violence, ending the unequal treatment of husbands and wives under legal code, and ending the practice of female genital mutilation. The hope is for these actions to be completed within the two-year window currently foreseen in the national dialog process. But the Salzburg working groups saw goals to be achieved beyond this two year process. Within five years, they also planned to work towards “gender mainstreaming”, with measures including the adoption of a non-gender bias language in all official governmental policies, laws and educational materials and the creation of incentives for organizations and institutions to fill at least 40% of their positions with women. Beyond government-led measures the working group also proposed building greater capacity for local and national NGOs through training and mirco-financing projects, to avoid reliance on the external groups who have become increasingly interested in the country. In the short-term, more art-led advocacy projects should be pursued, drawing on the country’s long artistic heritage. Collaboration is also needed, not only between civil society groups, but also other non-state actors, including imams and sheikhs. Beyond the two-year plan, calls were made for the creation of weekly TV shows dedicated to women’s rights, and an advice hotline for women to call. Tunisia In Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, four marginalized groups were identified in need of greater inclusion: the youth, religious minorities, those living in the rural interior regions, and the disabled. Young Tunisians, like their counterparts across the region, played an important role in the overthrow of the Ben Ali dictatorship, but how can this political engagement be maintained as the country transitions to democracy? Traditionally excluded from the political elite, which is dominated by much older figures, whom are overwhelming male, barriers – such as the age at which one can stand for political office – need to be revised to allow the Tunisian youth to be better involved in the new democracy. Besides reducing this limit to 18, the same age as suffrage, the Salzburg Tunisian delegation also recommended a “youth quota” be introduced to the Tunisian Parliament, giving 15% of seats to those under the age of 30. The remaining 85% of the seats should be shared equally between male and female representatives. Political exclusion is also an issue for religious minorities in Tunisia. Although anyone can stand for Parliament, Article 73 of the constitution states that the president must be a Muslim, excluding the Jewish minority (as well as the smaller number of Christians and declared atheists) from holding the office. Outside Tunis and the other major urban areas, the rural interior of Tunisia is poorly represented and political engagement on both a national and local level is low. Increasing the awareness of the local communities of their rights – including the access to information and budgets, and women’s rights – aided by pro bono law students travelling across the region, could be one way to help end this marginalization, the Tunisian delegation suggested, as well as generally empowering community-based organizations to prioritize their issues and voice their demands to higher levels of representation. Civil society groups should also help facilitate the exchange of experience and expertise of smaller, more localized community activists across the regions to help knowledge transfer, the spread of best practices and strengthen individual efforts. Local community actors should be engaged to avoid the continued perception that “this is just Tunis telling them what to do,” added one Tunisian Fellow. Beyond political exclusion, the Tunisian delegation identified the disabled as a key marginalized group in society. There are many existing laws on disability rights, but these need to be re-enforced, recommended the Tunisian Fellows, as well as new legislation being introduced. Easier access to public institutions, especially schools, and better disabled-access public transport should also be established, along with awareness days and events, involving the government, parents of disabled children and disability rights advocacy groups and NGOs. Civil society actors have a key role to play in acting as a “mediator” between the government and those with special needs and their supporters. Libya In the dying days of the Gaddafi regime, disparate sectors of society came together to overthrow the old regime. But since the long-reigning dictator’s overthrow and death, the country has seemingly lost its common purpose and has begun to fragment along social, political and regional lines. The nine Salzburg Global Fellows from Libya came from a wide variety of backgrounds, from youth activists, to teachers, filmmakers and former diplomats, but through their group work they reached a shared vision: a “unified Libyan identity” which found “strength in diversity”. In an earlier presentation of their ideas, a representative from the Libyan delegation had said that Libya needed to consider federalism, or at least realize that talking about the idea of a federalized state – one country made up of multiple autonomous parts, bound together with a common purpose – was “not a dangerous conversation to have.” To achieve this unified yet diverse vision, five objectives must be met, according to the Libyan Fellows. Firstly, human rights values must be further integrated into society, through schools, universities, mosques, and public lecture series, as well as through widespread multimedia, multi-stakeholder campaigns to entrench citizen rights and responsibilities in post-revolution Libya. Secondly, civil society capacity must be built up. Workshops on negotiation skills “tailored to the Libya context” and media skills are needed to enhance and expand the expression of diversity. The third objective presented by the Libyan team of Fellows focused on developing regional co-operation and collaboration in embedding inclusion and embracing diversity. This could be done, they suggested, through culture festivals and the exchange of experiences of tolerance, acceptance and common purpose between multiple stakeholders. The fourth objective looked beyond the grassroots level, and called for the development and reform of policy and legislation to ensure inclusion and diversity. They proposed creating an “inclusive taskforce” made up of groups including civil society actors, the Libyan youth and law experts, to lobby for articles on inclusion to be written into the new constitution, the drafting committee for which is currently holding elections. The fifth and final objective needed to reach the end vision of a united yet diverse Libya was the finding of “champions” of inclusion and diversity – be they civil society actors, celebrities, politicians or others – and the securing of sustainable funds. This money could come from international or indigenous donors, considering the pros and cons of both options which were explored in earlier discussions during the session. Egypt In some ways echoing the story in Libya, the months since January 25 have seen the country begin to divide along the “binary” view of Islamists versus the military/secularists, which needs to be “deconstructed”, urged the Egyptian delegation. In turn, alliances of mutual interests, across these destructive divides, must be identified and built. Such divides are hindering democratic progress, especially with regards to diversity and inclusion. As had been pointed out earlier on in the week, it is not only minorities in Egypt that face exclusion and marginalization; the fast changing political climate can see one large section of the political landscape in power one day, only to be overthrown and vilified the next. Overcoming these deep divisions and “deconstructing the binary” could be vastly aided by establishing some form of transitional justice mechanism to stop growing culture of retribution, proposed the Egyptian Fellows. But as to what form this mechanism would take, the Fellows were undecided. Should it be “truth and reconciliation” or “truth and justice”? If the latter, what kind of justice? Retribution or restorative? Regardless, the Fellows agreed, truth is needed if Egypt is to move forward. Although a Ministry for Transitional Justice and Reconciliation exists in Egypt, few at Schloss Leopoldskron had heard of it despite being heavily involved in post-revolution civil society. Space needs to be created to examine the issues relating to impunity, responsibility and accountability, as well as reconciliation. However, warned one veteran Fellow, if transitional justice mechanisms are to be introduced, those involved need to be careful to address the specifics of the situation in Egypt and not just simply copy another country’s model—context is extremely important. Besides overcoming the false dichotomy of Islamists and the military, and healing the resulting wounds, before Egypt can be more inclusive in its idea of “Egyptian” identity and embracing of its long-established diverse communities, it must also overcome the widespread impression that inclusion and diversity – and human rights at large – are external imports and not indigenous ideals. This view persists despite, as one Fellow pointed out, the revolutionary slogan being “bread, freedom, dignity”. Fellows from the Egyptian delegation encouraged local civil society actors to find a new language to galvanize support for inclusion and diversity, and inspire people in the same way as the chants of early days of the revolution did, to regain the “spirit of Tahrir”. Like their Yemeni, Tunisian and Libyan counterparts, the Egyptian Fellows had concrete suggestions of how inclusivity and diversity could be embedded in the new constitution, particularly in the form of quotas and affirmative action to ensure representation of women, minorities and youth, as well as exploring proportional representation. More independent oversight of elections was also called for. Dual strategies of “bottom-up” grassroots engagement, to change the culture of society to one more respectful of diversity, and “top-down” legislative changes, to support inclusion through the rule of law, need to be pursued simultaneously, it was recommended. Civil society actors have key roles to play with both strategies, with specially designated administrative units within existing government ministries also helping guiding the latter. Next steps For a region that severely lacked a strong – in some countries, any – civil society two years ago, what became increasingly apparent throughout the four presentations was the number of groups already working towards many of the goals identified by the Fellows. What is needed now, as the Fellows return to their home countries, be they one of the four focus countries or elsewhere in the world, is improved linkages and support between these various groups to amplify their impact. There is a great pool of passion and talent in the region; this now needs to be harnessed through knowledge exchange and capacity building.  Participants recognized that while actions need to be focused locally and nationally, regional information-sharing and strategizing helped them to see specific challenges in a new light and gave them fresh ideas on how to reframe challenges and implement new approaches.  To this end, as the Fellows left Schloss Leopoldskron, the work of Salzburg Global Seminar continues: helping to form in-country taskforces to formulate “roadmaps” of how to achieve greater inclusion and diversity across the region, and working with session partner, the Arab Human Rights Fund, to establish future continuation of the program.  “Please consider us a faithful and long-term partner,” Fateh Azzam Chair of the Arab Human Rights Fund told the Fellows in his closing remarks. Nancy Smith, Program Director at Salzburg Global Seminar echoed the Fund’s commitment, stating, “We will be following up with you to determine how Salzburg can best to facilitate this new work that you are leading.  There is no question that these transitions will continue to be challenging and we want to do what we can to support your efforts in meeting the promises of the revolutions to create more open and inclusive societies.” The revolutions started nearly two years ago, and whilst the dictators might have been removed from the session’s four focus countries, the hard work of building inclusive and diverse democratic society will not be over any time soon.   Fellows of the Salzburg Global session ‘Getting Transition Right: A Rights-Based Approach Towards Diversity and Inclusivity’ left Schloss Leopoldskron on Tuesday, November 6 with a renewed sense of purpose after presenting their plans of how to improve diversity management and inclusion in their home countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.
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Azza Kamel: “We have to ask ourselves - who makes the news?”
Azza Kamel: “We have to ask ourselves - who makes the news?”
Oscar Tollast 
Azza Kamel, founder of Fouada Watch, and the Arab Network, has accused sections of the arts sector in Egypt of misrepresenting reality. Ms Kamel, a feminist activist, spoke to Salzburg Global whilst attending the session ‘Getting Transition Right: A rights-based approach towards Diversity and Inclusivity’. In our latest podcast, the prominent writer describes how the focus on women in the media is on their bodies and appearance. She describes the work of the Arab Network and how it was created to monitor and change the image of men and women in the media. In addition to these topics, Ms Kamel discusses the role she played during the 2011 revolution in Egypt and how she helped mobilize support. This included writing a number of articles for Al Shorouk and Nahdit Misr newspapers. Ms Kamel holds a prominent role in presenting women’s rights and issues on the political agenda for the new Constitution of Egypt following the 2011 Revolution. Fouada Watch aims to monitor the performance of the executive authority, political parties, and Islamic trends and movements when it comes to women’s rights. She also established the Shoft Taharosh (I Saw Harassment) initiative after noting the increasing amount of harassment women faced. The Shoft Taharosh (I Saw Harassment) initiative aims to combat harassment, raise awareness and to develop policy papers to be submitted to decision and policymakers to take action. She is a member of the steering committee of Women’s and Democratic Transition in Egypt Forum and seeks to enhance principles of equality among women, combat violence against women and encourage women’s political involvement. Ms Kamel is also the national partner and consultant on ending discrimination and promoting peace and security for women in the Middle East for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
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Rihab Elhaj: “Very few things were done right initially”
Rihab Elhaj: “Very few things were done right initially”
Oscar Tollast 
The president of the New Libya Foundation (NLF) has suggested the initial transition process in Libya has led to chaos and dissatisfaction. Rihab Elhaj, an executive and leadership coach by trade, was speaking to Salzburg Global whilst attending a session co-organized by the Arab Human Rights Fund: ‘Getting Transition Right: A Rights-based Approach towards Diversity and Inclusivity.’ In our latest podcast, Ms Elhaj suggests whilst the political will for human rights exist today, Libya lacks political mechanisms for implementation. She advocates for a rule of law to be enacted to improve the situation, which can come through greater security and better access to education. In addition to this, she reflects on the work of the New Libya Foundation (NLF) and the lecture she gave to participants during the workshop. On February 10 2011, Ms Elhaj co-administered the Facebook page, ‘Time for a New Libya’, calling for support of the February 17 Libyan revolution. A week later, she incorporated and co-founded the NLF. She leads in building Libya’s brand new civil society through incubator centers which act as office space, and training facilities for over 100 of Libya’s most active civil society organizations in Tripoli and Misurata. In 2006, Ms Elhaj was nominated by the United Nations as the youth delegate to Libya for the Millennium Development Goals. This experience resulted in a professional commitment to regional development, and Libyan civil society capacity-building.
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VIDEOS

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Perspectives on the Arab Spring protests
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