Last year’s unprecedented popular demonstrations in countries that include Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have drastically affected the political landscape and led to significant changes toward democratic governance in each respective nation.  This movement, also referred to as the “Arab awakening,” has resonated deeply around the world and will have long lasting implications for America’s engagement with the region.  The conference will explore the impact and implications of the Arab Spring from a variety of perspectives, notably the needs, opportunities and challenges confronting U.S. foreign policy American business and non-governmental organizations.  Speakers and participants representing government, non-profits, academia, business and social media will share their insights, and observations on ways to engage in the post-Arab Spring world and foster civil society. 

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Introduction: Root Causes, Progress and Problems in the Past Year - What are the specific historic deep-seated grievances in each nation that led to the uprisings? Steven Grand, Director, U.S. – Muslim World Engagement Project, the Saban Center of Brookings Institution
9:30 – 11:00 p.m. The Impact and Current Role of Social Media and New Communication - This panel will explore the impact and current role social media is playing in the region, as a reflection of increasingly youthful populations. What are the specific social media tools implemented during the uprisings? What are current trends? Can young people through social media sustain the movement toward democratic governance, or are other forces likely to frustrate or re-direct such efforts? What are the obstacles and what are the needs for support? Jamal Dajani, Vice President, Internews Kara Hadge, social media manager, the British Council (One of the Leaders for Democracy Fellows in the U.S. under the auspices of the Department of State)
11:00 – 12:00 p.m. Keynote Address - Farah Pandith U.S. Department of State, Special Representative to Muslim Communities
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Lunch & Break
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Democracy and Economic Growth; How Can Business Contribute to Change? This panel will focus on the relationship of economic growth and democratic reform and on American business sector’s engagement with the region. What are the economic constraints or incentives for civil society and democeracy? What role if any did private sector actors play? How can the private sector contribute to positive change in democratic governance and economic development? What responsibilities does the business sector hold? Dr. Joseph Siegle, Director of Research for the Africa  Center for Strategic studies, the National Defense University.
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. The Role of “Outside” Supporters: Government, NGO, Education, the Diaspora This panel will explore external forces that may have played a role and supported the demonstrations. This panel will also examine the influence of the Arab Spring in sparking calls for change in other areas around the world, especially in Africa. What role did women play? How influential were transnational NGOs and Diaspora actors? Barbara Haig, National Endowment for Democracy Les Campbell, National Democratic Institute Dr. G. Matthew Bonham, the Maxwell School, Syracuse University Renee Simon, CEO Women for Women International (invited)
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. Conclusion: Policy Implications and New Directions - What does the future hold for U.S. policy makers and civil society advocates? How can the American business sector effectively operate in post- revolution countries? Danya Greenfield, Rafik Hariri Center, The Atlantic Council (A representative from the U.S. Department of State, Near Eastern Bureau)
The conference is hosted by Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and sponsored by Hill & Knowlton, Inc.