Join us for a talk by Professor Safwan M. Masri, EVP for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University, on his new book Tunisia: An Arab Anomalyon Monday, June 25, 2018, from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi.
The Arab Spring began and ended with Tunisia. In a region beset by brutal repression, humanitarian disasters, and civil war, Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution alone gave way to a peaceful transition to a functioning democracy. Within four short years, Tunisians passed a progressive constitution, held fair parliamentary elections, and ushered in the country's first-ever democratically elected president. But did Tunisia simply avoid the misfortunes that befell its neighbors, or were there particular features that set the country apart and made it a special case?
In Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly, Safwan M. Masri explores the factors that have shaped the country's exceptional experience. He traces Tunisia's history of reform in the realms of education, religion, and women's rights, arguing that the seeds for today's relatively liberal and democratic society were planted as far back as the middle of the nineteenth century. Masri argues that Tunisia stands out not as a model that can be replicated in other Arab countries, but rather as an anomaly, as its history of reformism set it on a separate trajectory from the rest of the region.
Professor Safwan M. Masri is Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University. He holds a senior research scholar appointment at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
A scholar on education and contemporary geopolitics and society in the Arab world, Professor Masri’s work focuses on understanding the historic, postcolonial dynamics among religion, education, society, and politics. His writings on education and current affairs have been featured in the Financial Times, Huffington Post, and Times Higher Education.
Masri is an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. He was founding chairman of both King’s Academy and Queen Rania Teacher Academy in Jordan and served as an advisor to Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. He is a trustee of International College in Beirut and of the Welfare Association (Taawon) in Ramallah, and a member of the advisory board of the School of Business at the American University in Cairo. Masri has served on the governing boards of Endeavor Jordan, the Children’s Museum Jordan, Arab Bankers Association of North America (ABANA), and Aramex.