Inaugural Symposium

Inaugural Symposium

Georgetown University

Thursday, February 8, 2007, 9:00AM to 5:15PM
Marriot Georgetown Conference Center, Leavey Center, Salon H
Open to the public.

Listen to audio recordings of the sessions (opens the Maghreb Center YouTube Channel)

Fifty years ago this year, in 1956, Morocco and Tunisia, two former French protectorates, gained their independence, while Mauritania proclaimed its own independence from France in 1960, and Algeria remained under colonial yoke until 1962, whereas Libya had declared its own sovereignty from Italy earlier in 1951.

Since then, in spite of numerous difficulties and setbacks, the five countries of the Maghreb, each one according to its own trajectory, shaped by its socio-historic specificities, have achieved substantial progress in modernizing their societies, structuring them as nation states, while struggling to achieve socio-economic development, and more recently to insert their respective economies into the global economy.

Today Maghrebi societies have evolved and grown more complex. The five countries face, in varying degrees, similar challenges in pursuing the liberalization of their economies by fostering the private sector and carrying on privatization of state owned enterprises, while providing adequate social safety nets and tackling the critical issue of unemployment, mainly among the youth; reforming their civil service and decentralizing decisionmaking authority; adjusting the governance system to the new realities; and rethinking politics to give a voice to a more educated populace and a growing middle class, while dealing with political dissent inspired by a literalist understanding of Islam that has swept all over the Muslim world.

The symposium included four panels:

  1. Trends in Political Reform, and New Developments in Political Islam in the Maghreb
  2. Security Environment in the Maghreb
  3. Economic Development Issues
  4. International Relations: The EU, and the US relations with the Maghreb / Maghrebi Regional Integration

Detailed program

9:00-9:10 AM

Nejib Ayachi, (President, The Maghreb Center) Introduction

9:10-9:30 AM

Keynote Address, Leon Carl Brown, (Honorary Chair, Maghreb Center Inaugural Symposium, and Professor Emeritus, Princeton University) “The Contemporary Maghreb in Historical Perspective”

9:30-11:00 AM

Panel 1: Political Reform and Political Islam

  • William Zartman, (SAIS, Johns Hopkins University) Moderator/ “Democratization in the Maghreb”
  • Clement Henry, (University of Texas at Austin) “Postcolonial Dialectics of Political Islam”
  • Ali Ahmida, (University of New England) “After Lockerbie: The Debate about Reform in Libya”
  • Lindsay Benstead, (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Michigan) “The Perceptions of Parliament and Confidence in Democracy in Morocco and Algeria.”

11:00-11:15 AM Break

11:15-12:45 AM

Panel 2: The Security Environment in the Maghreb

  • John Entelis, (Fordham University) Moderator/ Overview of “Security & Terrorism” in Morocco, Algeria & Tunisia
  • Peter R Faber, (National Defense University) “The Maghreb and the NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue: Security Implications and Dilemmas”
  • Nouredine Jebnoun, (Georgetown University) “The Dynamic of Radicalization on the Salafist Movements in Algeria.”
  • Jacques E. Roussellier, (Middle East Institute) “Western Sahara: Disputed Sovereignty or Regional Conflict?”

12:45-1:45 PM Break

1:45-3:15 PM

Panel 3: Economic Development

  • Theodore Ahlers, (World Bank) Moderator/ “Overview of Maghrebi Economies”
  • Melani Cammett, (Brown University) “Trade Liberalization, the Relationship between Business Groups, The State, and Industrial Development Strategies in Morocco and Tunisia”
  • Heba F. El-Shazli, (Solidarity Center-AFL-CIO) “The Social and Labor Impact of Globalization in the Maghreb”
  • Lakhdar Boukerrou, (Florida Atlantic University) “Poverty, Environmental Governance, and the Economic Future of the Maghreb”
  • Loubna H. Skalli, (The American University) “Gender Dimensions of Development in the Maghreb”

3:15-3:30 PM Break

3:30-5:00 PM

Panel 4: International Relations and Regional Integration

  • Gregory White, (Smith College) Moderator
  • Yahia Zoubir, (Euromed Marseille Ecole de Management) “EU and US interests in the Maghreb”
  • Salah Ferhi, (University of Quebec, Montreal) “Historical and Contemporary Sub-Saharan Migration into the Maghreb”
  • Stuart Eizenstat, (Former Deputy Treasury Secretary, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Author of the Eizenstat Inititative on US-North Africa Economic Partnership) ” Regional Integration and the U.S.-North Africa Economic Partnership” (taped).

5:00-5:15 PM Closing Remarks

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