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Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold Speaks on The Arab Awakening: Governance Lessons for Asia and Beyond

May 4, 2011 — Today, Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold spoke at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies on ‘The Arab Awakening: Governance Lessons for Asia and Beyond’. Larry Diamond of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and Donald K. Emmerson, Director of the Southeast Asia Forum, both at Stanford, participated in the mid-day discussion.

The recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East represent one of the most dramatic global political developments since the fall of the Berlin Wall. What factors and forces led to the sudden collapse of well-entrenched regimes and the emergence of democratic reform movements across a region long accustomed to hereditary succession and autocratic rule? Does the current upheaval reflect unique circumstances in the Arab World? Or should it be viewed in the wider context of governance issues and challenges that have arisen in Asian and other settings beyond North Africa and the Middle East? As a governance specialist whose international career has spanned Arab and Asian societies, David Arnold shared his insights regarding these questions.

According to Mr. Arnold, “Arab youth truly have been at the vanguard of the revolution. The protests that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt, and that are de-stabilizing other Arab regimes, have been youth-led and technology-enabled. For example, in Egypt, it was YouTube images of an innocent torture victim in Alexandria, combined with 70,000 volunteers on Facebook that galvanized the first major protests on Tahrir square on January 25.”

Listen to the full speech below.

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For more of Mr. Arnold’s analysis on the Arab awakening, read his blog.

This event was co-sponsored by the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, directed by Larry Diamond at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

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