News Release: Faculty Experts, International

Sep. 1,  2011

Emory Experts Discuss the Future of Libya

As drastic change continues in Libya, Emory University experts are available to discuss the future of the country, the difficulties Libya faces transitioning to a democracy and the role the international community should play in the formation of the new government.

Democratic Challenges

Dan Reiter, professor and chair of the political science department, specializes in international conflict, foreign policy decision-making, national security policy and international alliances. He warns that we shouldn’t expect an overnight democracy in Libya.

“In the long term, democratization in the Middle East will likely help bring peace there, as mature democracies tend not to fight each other,” he says. “There may be instability before these nations develop into mature, stable democratic institutions.”

Contact: Dan Reiter, 404.727.6572

The Future of Libya

Vincent Cornell, chair of Emory’s Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, is an expert in contemporary Islamic and North African affairs. As Libya moves toward a democracy, Cornell says there are political models internationally that we can expect to start appearing in that country.

“The Transitional National Council includes many very educated members, many of them trained in the United States. And if exiles continue to return to the country, we will possibly see some sort of democratic government based on American or European models,” says Cornell.

Contact: Vincent Cornell, 404.727.8182

Read additional comments from Cornell >>

International Aid

Emory law professor Abdullahi An-Na’im is an expert in international law, Islam, Shari’a and human rights. He says while Libya needs help from the West, it’s important that the aid is international.

“I would emphasize the global nature of the response,” An-Na’im explains. “The more international the better. If it is perceived to be American or western, that’s going to be counterproductive. Although in reality western powers, the United States and European powers, are likely to play the leading role, it should be done institutionally through the United Nations, the African Union [and] the Arab League so that it’s not perceived as a new phase of colonialism.”

Contact: Abdullahi An-Na’im, 404.727.1198

View additional comments from An-Na’im about the future of Libya >> 

True Revolutions?

Emory Middle Eastern history and Islamic studies professor Kenneth Stein is an expert in the Middle East, American foreign policy in the region and the modern Arab world. He says he’s worried that though we’ve seen a lot of fighting in the region, so far we have only witnessed popular uprisings not yet true revolutions.

“For real change to occur there must be a distinct move away from authoritarianism and elite control over social, economic, and political systems,” Stein explains. “For an overhaul of the way government’s operate, those in the middle and lower classes need to have ways to participate in determining and shaping their futures.”

Contact: Ken Stein

View additional comments from Stein about revolution in Libya >>

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