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Studies 09 December, 2019

Full Text of Azmi Bishara's Keynote Lecture

Democratic Transition and its Problems: Theoretical Lessons from Arab Experiences

Given at the College de France, Paris, 28 November 2019

Azmi Bishara

Azmi Bishara is the General Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS). He is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. A prominent Arab writer and scholar, Bishara has published numerous books and academic papers in political thought, social theory, and philosophy, in addition to several literary works, including: Civil Society: A Critical Study (1996); On the Arab Question: An Introduction to an Arab Democratic Statement (2007); Religion and Secularism in Historical Context (3 volumes 2011-2013); On Revolution and Susceptibility to Revolution (2012); The Army and Political Power in the Arab Context: Theoretical Problems (2017); Essay on Freedom (2016); Sect, Sectarianism, and Imagined Sects (2017); What is Salafism? (2018); The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh): A General Framework and Critical Contribution to Understanding the Phenomenon (2018); What is Populism? (2019) and Democratic Transition and its Problems: Theoretical Lessons from Arab Experiences (2020). Some of these works have become key references within their respective field.

As part of a wider project chronicling, documenting, and analyzing the Arab revolutions of 2011, Bishara has also published three key volumes: The Glorious Tunisian Revolution (2011); Syria's Via Dolorosa to Freedom: An Attempt at Contemporary History (2013) and The Great Egyptian Revolution (in two volumes) (2014). Each book deals with the revolution’s background, path, and different stages. In their narration and detail of the revolutions’ daily events, these volumes constitute a key reference in what is known as contemporary history along with an analytical component that interlinks the social, economic and political contexts of each revolution.

​On Thursday, 28 November 2019 the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Paris held its second annual conference, entitled "Democracies in Formation: Arab Countries as a Test Ground for New Political Developments", in cooperation with the College de France.

Azmi Bishara, gave an opening lecture to the conference, addressing the issue of democratic transition in the Arab region and the associated theoretical and practical problems. This topic is the main thesis of an upcoming book written by Bishara, researching the democratic transition in theory, and interpreting theoretical results through a careful reading of the experiences of the Arab Spring and the reasons for its failures/successes.