After the major uprisings of 2011 in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen, many assumed that the movements emerged spontaneously directed by tech-savvy, young revolutionaries. However, citizen activism in the Arab world was already adapting to changing internal political and social dynamics in the preceding years.

To mark the launch of their book Taking to the Streets: The Transformation of Arab Activism  (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), Carnegie Middle East Center Director Lina Khatib and Yale University’s Ellen Lust were joined by Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi to discuss the dynamics of activism in the Arab world, and the interplay between the domestic and regional contexts. Carnegie’s Marwan Muasher moderated. 

This event was co-sponsored by Stanford University’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

Ahmed Benchemsi

Ahmed Benchemsi is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Lina Khatib

Lina Khatib is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.

Ellen Lust

Ellen Lust is associate professor of political science at Yale University and non-resident senior fellow at POMED.

Marwan Muasher

Marwan Muasher is vice president for studies at Carnegie, where he oversees research in Washington and Beirut on the Middle East.