The Program of Politics and International Relations at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies DI organized a seminar under the title “Civil Society in the Arab World: Reality and Prospects” on Thursday, 6 April 2023. The seminar was presented by both Dr. Haider Saeed, Head of the Research Department at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, and Dr. Mounir ElKecho, a Professor in the Philosophy program at the DI, and was moderated by Baraa Ali Deeb, a student in the Politics and International Relations Program.
In an opening speech, Khadija Ali, a student in the Political Science and International Relations program, said that the event comes in the context of discussing a concept that was not introduced in the Arab academic context until the nineties of the last century and was distinguished by its ramifications and the overlapping of intellectual visions and orientations in it, and it could not “overcome the national and sectarian divisions that prevent building a citizen-state that transcends these differences”.
The seminar tried to understand the concept, as it refers to one of the most important social factors that participate in policy-making through effective institutions on the ground, and the path it usually takes. Dr. ElKecho started from the Tunisian experience, pointing to the role played by the intervention of some civil society organizations and presenting themselves as an alternative to the political society, explaining the effects of these interventions on the democratic process.
Dr. Haider Saeed, on the other hand, talked about the development of the concept in the recent era and the changes that followed, explaining this change with several factors such as technological development and means of communication. He referred to its role in a number of revolutions and grassroots that the region witnessed in the past decade, to try to imagine the paths a traditional society can take in the future.
The seminar was concluded by a question-and-answer session in which the audience shared their questions and opinions with the presenters.