Tales of freedom: international relations and democratization in the Middle East

16 May 2024. From 18:30 | Conference | English | IEMed
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The road to political freedom in the Arab world has been a long one with many impediments. In this talk, I will explore two paths and tales for the pursuit of freedom in the region. The first is undertaken by regimes who over the decades have sought to realise their relative freedom from other states in the international system, be they former colonial powers and/or regional rivals. In their tales of freedom, they have emphasised ideals of national independence, sovereignty, and national unity. The second pursuit is driven by social forces seeking freedom from these regimes. In their tales, they have emphasised individual freedoms and dignity, democracy, and equality. I argue that these two pursuits have regularly clashed, making the realisation of freedom very difficult.  

Conference by Adham Saouli, professor of International Relations and Middle Eastern Politics at the University of St. Andrews, where he earned his Ph.D., and the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. He held a postdoctoral research fellowship at University College Dublin (2008-2009) and a lectureship in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh (2009-2014). He was a visiting professor at the Doha Institute of Graduate Studies between 2018 and 2020. His research interests include social movements, international relations of the Middle East and non-state actors (especially Hizbullah), among others. He is the author of Hezbullah: Socialisation and its Tragic Ironies (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). He is currently the editor of Disruptions, a collection of books and monographs focusing on political activism, social movements, and revolutions in the Middle East.

Moderated by Olivia Glombitza, associate lecturer in International Relations, Faculty of Political Science and Sociology, UAB, this session is co-organised with the Master’s Degree in International Relations, Security and Development, UAB.

It can also be followed on IEMed’s Youtube Channel.



Adham Saouli

Professor of International Relations and Middle Eastern Politics University of St. Andrews / Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
Olivia Glombitza

Olivia Glombitza

Associate lecturer in International Relations UAB

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