The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and founder of Zogby Research Services (ZRS), William Lawrence, Professorial Lecturer in Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affairs, and Radwan Masmoudi, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, for a discussion about the findings of a recent poll on Tunisian attitudes toward their country's political actors and institutions, moderated by MEI Vice President Paul Salem.
Zogby Research Services recently surveyed 3,031 Tunisian adults to determine their attitudes toward Tunisia's political parties and leaders and their views of Tunisia's future. The nationwide survey of Tunisian public opinion reveals a deeply disappointed, distressed, and divided electorate, with the governing Islamist Ennahda party as isolated in Tunisia today as Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party was this past spring when ZRS polled Egyptian attitudes.
--See results of Tunisia: Divided and Dissatisfied with Ennahda [PDF]
Zogby will elaborate on the poll's findings, comparing the divisions in Tunisia to those in Egypt just prior to the June 30th demonstrations that led to the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The presentation will be followed by a discussion about the implication of the poll's findings for Tunisia's political trajectory, particularly in light of the Ennahda government's recent decision to step down and allow the opposition to form a caretaker government.
Dr. James J. Zogby is the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. He is also managing director of Zogby Research Services, which specializes in groundbreaking public opinion polling across the Arab world. Zogby is a lecturer and scholar in Middle Eastern affairs and a visiting professor of Social Research and Public Polling at New York University in Abu Dhabi. A lecturer and scholar on Middle East issues, U.S.-Arab relations, and the history of the Arab American community, Dr. Zogby appears frequently on television and radio. Zogby is the author of Arab Voices (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2010), among other books and publications. Dr. Zogby has testified before U.S. House and Senate committees and has addressed the United Nations and other international forums. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. William Lawrence is a visiting professor in political science and international affairs at George Washington University's Elliott School and an adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He lived in North Africa for twelve years-including two in Tunisia-and worked across North Africa for twenty-eight years. For the past two years, he was the director of the North Africa Project at the International Crisis Group (ICG), where he supervised analysis and engaged in high-level advocacy. Prior to joining ICG, he served in a number of positions at the U.S. State Department including as a senior adviser for global engagement in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), where he advised the White House on core initiatives associated with President Obama's Cairo speech. He also served at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and in Washington as the officer in charge of Libyan and Tunisian affairs. Dr. Lawrence has appeared on BBC (radio and television), NPR, VOA, Al Jazeera, France 24, Voice of Russia, and The National (Australia); has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian and Le Monde; and has published op-eds in Foreign Policy, World Politics Review, Jeune Afrique, Slate Afrique, Le Figaro, Rue 89, Al-Hayat, and Sharq al-Awsat.
Dr. Radwan A. Masmoudi is the founder and president of the Center of the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID), a Washington-based non-profit think tank dedicated to promoting dialogue about democracy in the Muslim world. He is also the editor of the Center’s quarterly publication, Muslim Democrat. He has written and published several articles and papers on the topics of democracy, diversity, human rights, and tolerance in Islam. He was founding president of the Tunisian Scientific Society (TSS), and of the Network of Democrats in the Arab World (NDAW), a member of the board of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies (ACSIS) and the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue (IFID). In April 2012, he was elected as a member of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy. Radwan appears regularly on radio and TV shows, including Voice of America, FoxNews, CNN, CBS, CNBC, NPR, Al-Jazeera, Algerian TV, al-Mustakillah TV, Press TV, Tunisia TV, etc. Since February 2011, two weeks after the beginning of the Arab Awakening, Dr. Masmoudi has spent most of his time in Tunisia, establishing CSID-Tunisia as one of the leading civil society organizations in post-revolutionary Tunisia. He has helped to organize and participate in hundreds of meetings and debates between Tunisian politicians, scholars, and leaders on how to move forward with the democratic transition in Tunisia.
Dr. Paul Salem is a vice president of the Middle East Institute leading an initiative on Arab transitions. Prior to joining MEI, Salem was the founding Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon between 2006 and 2013, where he built a regional think tank distinguished by the quality of its policy research and high regional profile. From 1999 to 2006, he was director of the Fares Foundation and in 1989 founded and directed the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanon's leading public policy think tank. In 2002, Salem served on the senior review committee for the United Nations Development Program's Arab Human Development Report. Salem writes regularly in the Arab and Western press and has been published in numerous journals and newspapers, including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the National Interest, and the Financial Times. Salem is the author of a number of books and reports on the Middle East, including Broken Orders: The Causes and Consequences of the Arab Uprisings (in Arabic, 2013); "Iraq's Tangled Foreign Relations" (2013), "Libya's Troubled Transition" (2012), "Can Lebanon Survive the Syrian Crisis?" (2012); and "The Arab State: Assisting or Obstructing Development" (2010).