The Fate of the Arab Spring: 2011 to Today

19 September 2018
Speaker: Prof. Sir Adam Roberts


How unified, or diverse, were the phenomena covered by the term ‘the Arab Spring’? And why did the civil resistance movements of 2011 run into difficulties in so many countries? Professor Sir Adam Roberts will explore the factors that help to explain a notably varied set of outcomes: the comparatively peaceful evolution of events in Tunisia, the fateful transition from peaceful demonstrations to internationalized civil wars in Syria and Yemen, the failed NATO intervention in Libya, and the survival of long-established systems of rule in many countries, including Egypt and Bahrain. Finally he will discuss three questions:

  • How did power politics, within and beyond the region, affect outcomes?
  • Why was democratization so difficult to achieve in so many of these societies?
  • Did the Arab Spring contribute unintentionally to a revival of authoritarian ideas and practices in the region and elsewhere?

Speaker Bio

Professor Sir Adam Roberts

Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics & International Relations
Emeritus Professor of International Relations
Oxford University

Professor Sir Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow in International Relations at Oxford University. In 2009–13 he was President of the British Academy, the UK national academy for the humanities and social sciences. His numerous books include the widely praised Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters, Oxford University Press, 2016. An Arabic translation has been published by All Prints in Beirut.