A joint conference by The University of Melbourne and Freedom House

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The Middle East in Revolt: the First Anniversary

International Conference 17-18 March 2012
Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne, Australia 

This conference is a welcome opportunity to revisit the Arab revolution on its first anniversary. The fall of the government in Tunisia in January 2011 was soon followed by the departure of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. The popular uprising spread rapidly to other Arab states, threatening entrenched regimes and the status quo. In Libya the uprising turned into a bloody civil war. While many observers have drawn parallels with the crumbling of the Soviet bloc and the eastward spread of democracy to Eastern Europe, the outcome of the Arab uprising is far from clear. This popular uprising has challenged authoritarian rule and highlighted the widespread desire for political accountability and responsible government. Yet it may be premature to celebrate the 'Arab Spring' as heralding democracy to the region. Democracy in the Middle East remains a difficult and long-term project.


About the conference

This conference will bring together key Australian and international scholars in a significant two day event designed to foster high-level analysis and debate. This conference is aimed at examining the prospects of democracy in the Middle East by exploring some key factors:

  1. What have been the motivating factors for the Arab revolt?
  2. How relevant is Political Islam to this popular uprising?
  3. How does the popular uprising for political accountability relate to sectarian divisions?
  4. How has Obama's Mid East policy impacted on the popular push for democracy?
  5. What role has the new media played in the spread of the popular uprising?
  6. Does the 'Arab street' speak with one voice?
  7. Where is the Arab revolution going?


Call for papers and abstract submissions

Please note that the deadline for abstract submissions has now passed and we are not accepting any further submissions.


Conference committee

  • Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh (Convenor)
  • Dr Kylie Baxter
  • Assoc. Professor Richard Pennell
  • Charles W. Dunne

This conference is jointly organised by The University of Melbourne and Freedom House.

Contact: Faiza Muhammad, Conference Secretary


Conference venue 

The Middle East in Revolt: The First Anniversary conference will be held in the Old Arts (Building 149), Parkvillle Campus, The University of Melbourne.

Listen to the latest Up Close interview with Shahram Akbarzadeh Mirages of influence: The US in the Middle East, post "Arab Spring"