Arab Spring to be debated in Lisbon

Lisbon will host a conference in November on the transition to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa.

Organised by the Council of Europe North-South Centre and the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), whose high representative is former Portugal President Jorge Sampaio, the conference forum will include representatives from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco.

On the theme The Arab Spring: a great step in making universal rights into reality, the forum will focus on the importance of civil society, in particular for youth and women, and the role of social networks and groups.

The outline programme also will discuss ‘the lessons to be drawn from past experiences from history and political models which could be viewed as sources of inspiration.’

The names of those taking part have yet to be finalised, but the conference will take place on November 3 and 4 at the Ismaili Centre.

The Egypt experience is expected to take central stage in a session especially dedicated to ‘deepening debate on the transition to democracy’ and ‘practical education and training’ for those countries undergoing this process.

The Portuguese ex-president was in Egypt recently where the Arab League in conjunction with the UN Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) organised a conference about the transition to democracy in that country and the similarities with similar transitions in Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilisations has held a number of conferences in recent years including those in Doha, Madrid, Istanbul and last year in Rio de Janeiro.