The Jasmine Revolution Will Wither in North Africa: It Won't Meet the Expectations of Youth

By The International Debate Education Association idea Open Society Institute osi British Council And Intelligence Squared, PRNE
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

LONDON, May 12, 2011 - "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!"
So wrote William Wordsworth at the start of the French Revolution, and the
same spirit of euphoria still infects the young people of Egypt and Tunisia.
But in countries with no tradition of democracy, where corruption is
entrenched and jobs are scarce, the political and economic aspirations of the
youthful revolutionaries are likely to be disappointed. Add to that the fact
that the Islamists are far better organised than the liberal groups, and are
set to come out on top in the forthcoming elections, and the future seems
less bright.

But on the other hand, the new democrats are mobilising themselves to
make sure that the benefits of change trickle down to all. There's even talk
of a possible split amongst the Islamists between the reactionary old guard
and a more open-minded younger generation. Most importantly the fundamental
barrier of fear has been removed and, as Ahmed Naguib has pointed out, if
their demands aren't met, "The Egyptian masses know their way back to Tahrir

    Welcome and Introduction from Martin Davidson, CEO British Council

    Speakers For the motion

    Nora Ayman     23-year-old corporate analyst at the National Bank of
                   Egypt. Graduated from Cairo University
    Douglas Murray Author and journalist, and Associate Director of the Henry
                   Jackson Society
    Norman Stone   Professor of International Relations at Bilkent
                   University, Ankara. Former Professor of Modern History at
                   Oxford Speakers Against the motion
    Roger Cohen    Columnist for The New York Times and the International
                   Herald Tribune. Reported from Tahrir Square during the
                   2011 revolution
    Fawaz Gerges   Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International
                   Relations at the London School of Economics. He also holds
                   the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East
    Ahmed Naguib   33-year-old Advising and Exchanges Director for AMIDEAST
                   in Cairo, and prominent mobiliser of youth in the Egyptian
                   revolution of 2011
    Nik Gowing     Main presenter, BBC World News
                   Join the debate on Twitter #iq2rev

    Tickets: Free and only available to students. Ticket holders must bring
    valid student ID.
    Booking and Information:

The International Debate Education Association (IDEA), an offshoot of the
Open Society Institute (OSI), has come together with the British Council and
the debating organisation Intelligence Squared to stage a major debate on the
future of the Jasmine Revolutions in North Africa. The event will be free to
an international audience of students and young activists, many of whom will
be in London for a two-day symposium being held by the British Council, and
it will be live-streamed globally online. Along with seasoned speakers, the
panel will also include the following two young Egyptians who experienced the
recent revolution first-hand.

Featured Speakers

Nora Ayman

Nora Ayman, 23, is a corporate analyst at the National Bank of Egypt. She
graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo
University and holds a bachelor's degree in economics. Nora Witnessed the
Egyptian revolution in 2011 and supported the protesters. She has a keen
interest in development and has participated in the Model United Nations (an
academic simulation of the UN that works as an educational tool) as a
delegate and a secretariat in economic councils such as the World Trade
Organization, The World Bank Group, and the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO).

Ahmed Naguib

Ahmed Naguib is a 33-year-old Egyptian who serves as the Advising and
Exchanges Director for AMIDEAST. Ahmed directs and manages the EducationUSA
Center, the cultural and professional exchanges portfolio, as well as the
scholarship portfolio which includes the ORASCOM Onsi Sawris and Ford
Foundation International Fellowship Programs and finally AMIDEAST's Study
Abroad program in Cairo. Since April 2008, he has been directing the Ford
Foundation International Fellowship Program, a scholarship programme focused
on empowering the marginalized through access to higher education.

On January 25, 2011, Ahmed took to the streets of Cairo, and over the
next few days mobilised thousands of young people to congregate in Tahrir
Square. He organized them into various committees dealing with security, food
and tent and blanket distribution, hygiene, political and media coordination
and the group came to be known as the "Trustees of the Revolution".

In close cooperation with the Coalition of the Youth of the 25th of
January and four other coalitions, Ahmed launched the Coordination Committee
of the Masses, a joint committee for the most influential coalitions since
the ousting of Mubarak. This was formed in order to mobilize public opinion
in an attempt to pressure the interim government and the Supreme Military
Council to ensure the fulfillment of the popular demands of the Revolution.

Ahmed is working on launching three initiatives currently: the
International Campaign for Egypt's Debt Forgiveness - ICEDF; the Egyptian
Initiative for Political Awareness and Civic Education, which is a knowledge
community; and a new social contract for Egypt as part of the National Plan
for Egypt's Development, an initiative between civil society and the Egyptian

Contact: Kit Cockburn,,


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