A Change of Seasons

Hughesians are cordially invited to attend a lecture by Demetrius Floudas, Senior Associate of Hughes Hall and advisor to the Egyptian Competition Authority in Cairo. Entitled “A Change of Seasons: Egypt, the ‘Arab Spring’ and the challenges ahead”, the lecture will cover the 2011 uprisings in Egypt and the ensuing political developments in key Middle Eastern and North African countries.

For several decades the pace of political change in the Middle East had been slow, hence the revolutionary movements that spread across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 took everyone by surprise. Drawing on Eastern European precedents, many in the West refer to these events as the ‘Arab Spring’. People in the Arab world prefer to speak of an ‘Arab Awakening,’ an expression with clear antecedents in the social, national, constitutional and Islamic modernist reforms of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Whatever its name, it is clear that the region in question did reach a historic turning point: the rapid regime changes were universally hailed as a harbinger of democracy and a factor for rapid societal progress and liberalisation.

Two and a half years after the uprisings, this seminar intends to take stock of political developments in key Middle Eastern and North African countries. The regimes may have changed, but the euphoria and revolutionary enthusiasm generated in the first few months are now almost obsolete. The political and security scene in most of the countries in the region remains in flux, often chaotic and more confusing than ever. And the hopes for social evolution appear to have been quite premature.

Demetrius Floudas revisits the topic, with a particular emphasis on Egypt, which has always been one of the trendsetters for the region. This lecture intends to present a quick overview of the uprisings of 2011, followed by a deeper analysis of its causes, undercurrents and realities. A number of issues will be discussed, based on opinions of international analysts as well as the speaker’s own experience from his personal observations during recent months in Cairo.