Cyprus Policy Center organised the last seminar of this semester at the department of Political Science and International Relations on the 14th of January. The opening address of the seminar which was entitled “Autocratic Elites Beyond the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ and the Arab Spring’’ was delivered by Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen, who introduced Dr. M. Moncef Khaddar, the guest speaker of the seminar.
Dr. M. Moncef Khaddar pursued his postgraduate studies on ‘’Single Party and Political Violence in Tunisia’’ in Tunisia. Following the completion of his postgraduate studies, he continued with Ph.D studies in Tunisia and wrote his thesis entitled “Language and Political Reality in Tunisia’’ in Paris-Sorbonne in 1977. In 1985, he was awarded Fulbright Research Scholarship for one year at the Center of Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley. In 1989, he carried out research at Columbia University, New York. He taught in France, Tunisia, USA, Egypt and North Cyprus. In 2012, he retired as an associate professor from the Department of International Relations at Eastern Mediterranean University.
Dr. Moncef Khaddar started his presentation by talking about the Arab Spring, one of the most important political event of the 21st century taking place in the Middle East as of the year 2010. Khaddar stated that it is called ‘Spring’ since people challenged against the dictators in their countries. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Algeria and Jordan are some of the countries which went through the Arab Spring. After providing detailed information about the Arab Spring, Khaddar focused on political protests in Tunisia.
Khaddar stated that Tunisia was formerly under the control of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose era was oppressive. During his time, people suffered both politically and economically. Unemployment was an important issue. People also encountered limitations related with the freedom of expression and religious practice as well as freedom to join political parties. . Khaddar put forth that after mass demonstrations, President Ben Ali fled the country and this was the beginning of new era which was called ‘’Jasmine Revolution’’. At the end of the seminar, Khaddar talked about the parameters of revolution and answered students’ questions about “Jasmine Revolution’’.