AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EASTThe Cairo Workshops
The Cairo workshops were held just a few months after the tumultuous events of January 2011 at Tahrir Square and across Egypt that brought down the Mubarak regime and opened up a whole new arena for political and social activities. Indeed, a massive anti-government demonstration was held in Tahrir Square adjacent to the workshop meeting place the day before the first workshop began, thereby punctuating the relevance of the discussion. To cover all aspects of the recent changes in social and political life, the project held two related workshops on two successive days. The first consisted of twenty Egyptian scholars and NGO practitioners sharing their perspectives and analyses on the recent events and proffering possible scenarios in which religious groups might play formidable roles in the unfolding political process in Egypt. The second workshop was devoted to the youth perspective on the democratic movement in Egypt, involving a dozen young activists who had been involved in Tahrir Square and related movements. They represented the views of Christians as well as Muslims, both moderates and conservatives, and also activist women, workers, and members of the rising professional middle class.