Is democracy reasonable and possible for the MENA region?

By Press Office
December 20, 2013

The latest podcast from Middle East and North Africa (MENA) analyst Dr Harry Hagopian looks at the prospects for democracy in a region battered by violence and conflict.

It is now three years since a young street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in Sizi Bouzid, Tunisia, sparking an uprising that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In this interview for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Dr Hagopian, an Ekklesia associate, looks at the shape of democratic development across the region in light of the uprisings of the last three years.

Is democracy a realistic or reasonable aim? Is it possible in the long-term?

He draws our attention to two words that encapsulate the true challenge in this context - statehood and dignity.

Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenical consultant and political advisor. He also acts as Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and ad hoc ecumenical consultant to the Bishop of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the UK and Ireland (including as part of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches). He is a regular Ekklesia contributor on as well as a recent Huffington Post blogger on Formerly Assistant General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, he was subsequently Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches during the Oslo chapter of negotiations. An international fellow at Sorbonne III University, he is author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. His own website is and you can follow him on Twitter on @harryhagopian

* The full 25-minute broadcast can be listened to and downloaded (11.32mb) in MP3 format here:

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