UNCG Campus Weekly

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Facebook a Force for Democracy?

020911Headline_DemocracyThe revolution will not be televised, the old song goes. In the Middle East in recent weeks, protests have been tweeted on Twitter, liked on Facebook, and blogged and YouTubed as well. UNCG’s lecture series “Democracy: On the March or on the Ropes?” will launch with a lecture about the “Tunisia Effect,” specifically about social movements and social networks in the Arab Region. “I’m not sure that the first talk could be timed any better given the popular unrest in Egypt right now,” says Dr. David Holian (Political Science), director of UNCG’s Center for Legislative Studies.

“The successful overthrow of Tunisia’s autocratic regime, which has been followed by mass protests in Egypt, Yemen and Jordan, raises the question of whether we’re beginning to see the start of a trend in the Arab world whereby young people take to the streets to protest and potentially overthrow unpopular governments. The success or failure of such protests will no doubt have far reaching effects across the region and the world.”

What kids of effects? “U.S. influence in the region will no doubt be affected, as will our efforts to encourage peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” he says.

The series will provide a greater understanding of the immense change that is affecting governing regimes around the world in the 21st century, he says. “The speakers in the spring series will provide perspective, not only from the United States’ point of view, but from that of those coping and trying to survive these changes in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.”

The spring series is presented by the Center for Legislative Studies. The three lectures are:

“The ‘Tunisia Effect’: Social Movements and Social Networks in the Arab Region”
Dr. Michaelle Browers
Associate Professor of Political Science, Wake Forest University
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.

“Political Transformation in Africa: the Quality of Progress”
Dr. Julius Nyang’oro
Professor and Chair, Department of African and Afro-American Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tuesday, March 29, 7:30 p.m.

“Contemporary Latin America: Evolution and Challenges to Democracy”
Dr. Jonathan Hartlyn
Kenneth J. Reckford Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Wednesday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.

The talks will be held in the Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium. There will be free parking behind the museum.

A reception will follow each talk.

Those with questions may contact Carrie Klamut at ceklamut@uncg.edu.

By Mike Harris
Visual of demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, January 29. Photograph by Ramy Raoof.