Cairo office organizes round table about revolution in Egypt 2011 and Germany ...
Cairo office organizes round table about revolutions in Egypt 2011 and Germany 1989
Understanding the Egyptian Revolution: A series of events organized by the Cairo liaison office of Freie Universität Berlin examines political change in Egypt.
At regular events hosted by Freie Universität’s liaison office in Cairo, approaches to democratization will be developed and discussed. The series was piloted by a symposium with German and Egyptian scholars on similarities between current events in Egypt and the German revolution in 1989. Discussion topics included the evolvement of social movements into political organizations, the establishment of new governance structures, and how to deal with the legacy of the old regime. The symposium was organized jointly with the American University in Cairo.
The panel was formed by nine scholars representing German and Egyptian institutions. As an introduction to the issues at hand, researchers from the American University in Cairo and the Al Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies traced the developments leading to the January 25th movement. Then Konrad Jarausch, Professor for European Civilization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who currently holds a visiting professorship at Freie Universität, identified the parameters under which the downfall of the GDR regime in 1989 had taken place. In a paper on the Stasi files, Stefan Wolle, a historian within the Forschungsverbund SED-Staat of Freie Universität, spoke about a subject equally topical in present-day Egypt where the role of the secret services under the dictatorship will be subjected to close examination. Statements on the importance of economic conditions and the role of the military in Egypt were complemented by an account of the history of revolutions in Germany by Jochen Staadt who is also a member of Forschungsverbund SED-Staat. Finally, Monem Al Mashat, Professor at Cairo University, sketched the path to the parliamentary elections due to be held in September.
Many of the over 100 mostly young participants had participated in the demonstrations on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The presence of activists and the sheer proximity of the events added to the authenticity and relevance of the debate on chances and risks for Egypt and the region.
Future transition-related events held by Freie Universität’s liaison office will put a special focus on the imminent reforms of the higher-education system in Egypt.