Meeting Notes - November 21, 2012
The Uprisings and the Future of North Africa and the Middle East: The Vienna Seminar 2012
Walter Kemp, rapporteur
"The challenge for us all is to ensure that the spark of revolution ignites a beacon of hope and not a wildfire of despair,” said IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen at IPI's 2012 Vienna Seminar.
IPI's 42nd annual Vienna Seminar took place on May 23–24, 2012, amid an ongoing civil war in Syria, elections in Egypt, rising tensions in Lebanon, and challenging transition processes in Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and beyond.
“One year ago, the energy of the people was focused on removing the old regimes. But now the task is much harder: to create an alternative,” one participant observed.
Among the challenges now faced in the transition process are economic hardships (in particular, high unemployment), security-sector reform, and rebuilding state institutions riddled by corruption and nepotism. All of this is proving to be difficult. Several of the countries that were at the heart of the uprisings are even experiencing negative growth—creating a situation where there is more freedom but fewer jobs. This begs the question, has the revolution, which inspired such high expectations, failed? Has anything really changed for the better?
“Today the only thing that is certain is uncertainty. The only thing that is predictable is unpredictability," Mr. Rød-Larsen said.
More than 100 participants took part, including senior government officials from the region, representatives of the diplomatic corps, experts from think tanks, journalists, and students. The seminar was organized in partnership with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defense and Sports and the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.
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November 28, 2013
Energy and Security in the Arctic: A New “Frozen” Conflict?
Is the Arctic a “region of cooperation,” or will competition for its potentially rich energy resources lead to conflict in the high north? This was the main question addressed during an expert workshop held in The Hague on November 28th by the International Peace Institute together with the International Gas Union and the Clingendael International Energy Programme.
November 22, 2013
Can Technology Play a Role in Drafting a Constitution?
The effects that new technologies can have on constitutional processes was the topic of this November 22nd IPI roundtable discussion. Approximately five new constitutions are written around the world every year, and their legitimacy is increasingly influenced by a new level of public participation in their drafting, not merely by a plebiscite on the final text. As rapidly advancing technology changes the way that governments and citizens interact, what role are new technologies playing in constitutions?
November 19, 2013
Haqqani: Pakistanis Need Honest Debate About Their Country
"We Pakistanis need an honest debate inside our country about what is Pakistan's national interest. We never have it,” said Hussain Haqqani, a former Pakistani diplomat and journalist, who was at IPI on November 19th to give a presentation on his latest book, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding.