The Arab 'Spring' Made Simple

Park House, Southfield
Social Sciences
Friday 9th November 2012 (11:30-16:30)
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Michelle Pace 
Telephone +44 (0)121 414 8222 

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2012


Dr Michelle Pace (POLSIS)’s event on ‘The Arab ‘Spring’ Made Simple’ will host a group of up to 120 pupils from the local Kings Norton Academy and Stratford-upon-Avon College at the University of Birmingham’s Edgbaston campus for a whole day of activities on Friday 9th November, 2012.

The ‘Arab Democratic Spring’ (or ‘Arab Uprisings’ or ‘Arab Awakening’) is a momentous and historical event that surprised many observers around the world. For over a decade, it was assumed that authoritarian regimes in the Arab world were there to stay as they secured a sense of stability. It has also been assumed that the Arab world is not ‘ripe’ for democracy. These assumptions were severely challenged with the mass protests across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since December 2010.

Although there has been much academic debate on the topic, little if any effort has been made to date to explain the historical significance of these events to future leaders in the UK, in particular young pupils at our local secondary schools. 

The event on Birmingham’s campus will be kick-started by Michelle Pace who will deliver a lecture on what led to the Arab uprisings across the MENA, their global and historical significance and what these 'democratic uprisings' mean for the 'international community'. This lecture will be followed by a discussion where pupils will have the opportunity to ask questions, make comments and debate the topic. There will also be a specific case study focus where Michelle’s guest speaker from Cairo, Egypt, Amr Abdelrahman, will explicate the specific case of Egypt’s revolution to the pupils. The involvement of Amr Abdelrahman as someone who has firsthand experience of the ‘Arab Spring’ will greatly enrich the event and help ‘bring the event to life’ for the pupils who will be attending the event. The day’s events will end with a campus tour for all pupils around Birmingham’s Edgbaston campus.

Michelle Pace is committed to her public engagement role and therefore intends to take this year’s event as the first in a series of similar events to be hosted at Birmingham in following years as a build up on this year’s event and as a continuation of the ESRC’s annual Festival of Social Sciences activities.

Venue: Southfield, Park House, University of Birmingham

Time: 11:30 onwards

Find out more about other Festival of Social Science events within the College of Social Sciences