Hivos International


Hivos' Kawa Hassan to Volkskrant: 'Democracy will prevail in the Middle East' (Dutch).

In het Midden-Oosten overwint de democratie

Egypte staat op ontploffen en elders in de regio is het ook onrustig. De Arabische Lente heeft haar langste tijd gehad. Of zijn het juist barensweeën? Niet?

Lees het complete twistgesprek tussen Henk Müller met Kawa Hassan door middel van het downloaden van de pdf.

Hivos' Kawa Hassan: "Egypt is caught between counter-revolution and irreversible social empowerment"

On 8 February 2014, Hivos' middle east expert Kawa Hassan participated in  an international debate on the developments in Egypt entitled Egypt: A  Failed Revolution?. In his presentation Kawa Hassan highlighted  the continuous struggle between two trends and dynamics that will shape the  future of Egypt transition: counter-revolution and irreversible social  empowerment.  

Damascus, walls of sorrow

​At the Syrian border, a soldier greets me with a question, “Sabiha?” his tone one of disapproval. I attempt to recall the names of all my female friends, as a Kurdish song of the same name begins to play in my head. The man shakes his head, repeating, “Sabiha.” I blurt out, “No, my name is Rula,” and, as I do, I suddenly realise what it is he means. It is an accusation, implying that I have come from Sabiha Gökçen, the Turkish Airport, with all of its stories and escapades that I am no doubt involved in if I am crossing into Northern Syria, or maybe I am engaged in suspicious anti-government activity in Southern Turkey.

Beyond Frontiers: The Implosion of the Middle East

On the occasion of the 12.5 years anniversary of its exchange programs with the Middle East and North Africa, the College of Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam and Zeytun in collaboration with Hivos held a debate on the fast--changing strategic landscape of the Middle East entitled Beyond Frontiers: The Implosion of the Middle East. Professor Anoush Ehteshami, professor of International Relations at University of Durham talked about catalytic events and new realities that are reshaping the region. Hivos' and Carnegie's Kawa Hassan highlighted the need for conceptual innovation, academic and activism imagination that rise to the challenge of the transforming Middle East. 

Since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, there have been abundant articles and studies on Syrian political factions and figures; but, to date, there has been no systematic study and critical appraisal of the engine of the revolution ˗ the local coordination committees (LCCs). For this reason, Hivos, in collaboration with Syrian stakeholders and regional knowledge initiatives such as Maalouma, has initiated the Syrian Perspectives Project.

The Green Movement is a massive and unprecedented social movement that brought together different segments of the society and courageously challenged the regime. However, despite its importance, social mobilization alone is not sufficient to bring about a regime change, let alone a sustainable democracy. In addition to mobilization, the movement needs a strategic reflection on its vision, which aims at developing a new narrative for an alternative social order that is truly tolerant, pluralist, democratic, today and tomorrow, and that would result in the(re)definition of a bigger ‘us’.

In this Special Bulletin, Mariwan Kanie maps out the main debates in the Middle East on Middle Eastern transitions. Making sense of the new Middle East is not an easy endeavor. Since the start of the Tunisian uprising on December 17, 2010, the region has been the scene of complex, revolutionary and rapid transitions that defy conventional knowledge and wisdom.

The scope of these shifts and the speed with which they occur surprise even seasoned local analysts in the region and beyond. We believe the insights of this Special Bulletin are relevant to a broad, international audience of academics, practitioners, policymakers, journalists and opinion makers who do not speak and read Arabic and, hence, do not have access to important local knowledge on transitions.

Syria’s Electoral Reforms: Myths and Facts

Third Publication of Hivos and SRCC by Rouba Al-Fattal Eeckelaert

The Syrian people need to reject the new constitution because it comes from the point of lost political and moral legitimacy, it comes under continuous violence, and it does not fit Syria's future.

The dignity revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are ‘political Big Bangs’ that have shocked and awed almost everyone in the world, including the revolutionaries themselves. The Knowledge Programme Civil Society in West Asia (CSWA) is certainly no exception. Until the fall of the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali on 14 January 2011, conventional wisdom – both in the region and beyond – held that Arab autocrats were ‘here to stay’ and that the region was doomed to governance by authoritarian regimes. Against this background, this Hivos CSWA Briefing Note argues that there is a strategic and urgent need for two paradigm shifts and paying attention to  six strategic principles when considering the role of Western donors in supporting social changes in MENA.

Despite the daunting challenges and possible setbacks ahead, Hivos believes the dignity revolutions are the start of the reconfiguration of state-society relations in favour of empowered citizens and actors who are determined to fight for and negotiate new social contracts aimed at achieving accountable, inclusive and responsive political and economic systems. Western donors cannot fail to grasp the historicity and strategic momentum of this grassroots movement towards democracy and accordingly accompany tough transitions initiated, led and ultimately determined by the people of the region.

The outstanding result women achieved in the Tunisian legislative elections held on 26 October 2014 (31 per cent of seats in the Assembly), marks a new milestone in Tunisia’s modernist tradition and confirms its pioneering position in the Arab region with regard to women’s rights and their participation in public life.

Having managed to overcome and reconcile their various cultural and ideological differences in the drafting of a constitution that further advances their rights, Tunisian women now face the challenge of turning this legal theory into concrete political practice.