Tunisia captivated the world’s attention when it, alone, emerged from the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ a democracy. While the 2011 Arab uprisings were brutally crushed and have led to civil wars and humanitarian disasters in a number of countries, Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution yielded a progressive constitution, fair parliamentary elections, and the ushering in of the country’s first-ever democratically elected president.
The Carnegie Middle East Center held a discussion between Maha Yahya and Safwan M. Masri for the launch of his new book. In the book, Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly (Columbia University Press, 2017), Masri explores the factors that have shaped the country’s exceptional experience since the Arab Spring. He argues that Tunisia stands out not as a model that can be replicated in other Arab countries, but rather as an anomaly, whose history of reformism set it on a separate trajectory from the rest of the region. Copies of the book are available for purchase at any Antoine bookstore.
Safwan M. Masri is the executive vice president for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University.
Maha Yahya is the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.