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Supporting Democratic Transition in the Middle East and North Africa
Successful revolutions do not ensure successful democracies. The Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia and spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa, offers an opportunity for human rights activists to create governments that are free and open to all citizens regardless of race, class, gender, or religion. But human rights activists are not the only ones trying to take advantage of this opportunity, and the work to create just and equal societies requires endurance.
The revolutions and uprisings of the Arab Spring exacerbated many of the region's underlying tensions. Without competent political leadership, these conflicts will worsen; it is up to human rights organizations and grassroots activists to ensure that the powerful positive momentum of the Arab Spring isn't lost.
Who UUSC works with
- Organizations and activists addressing social tensions that are preventing open and participatory democracies to flourish in the region
What UUSC does together with grassroots partners
With the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Egypt:
- Carry out a pilot project on grassroots transitional justice in four sites around Egypt to demonstrate how communities and different socio-political factions can can reconcile after conflict in post-revoluntionary Egyptre
- Support traditional research, community focus groups, and street theater to identify roots causes of conflict and develop recommendations for how communities can heal and move forward toward a more democratic future
With the American Islamic Congress:
- Translated into Arabic and distributed copies of The Montgomery Story, a comic about the U.S. civil rights movement
- Designed and implemented a voter-education campaign that empowered youth and young people to educate more than 10,000 family members, friends, and community members across Egypt on their rights as citizens
- Brought together 22 activists from across the Middle East for a training workshop that built the "real world" mobilization skills of talented online activists, which led to groundbreaking events on religious freedom and women's political participation
As Egypt moves forward into democracy, UUSC is working with the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development to foster a sense of reconciliation and transitional justice among all Egyptians — and doing so in some very creative ways.
UUSC's Jessica Atcheson reflects on "The Power of We" — the theme of Blog Action Day.