As Yemen concludes its National Dialogue Conference, many question whether thus far inclusive and peaceful negotiations can act as a model for other transitioning countries. Tunisia also recently designed a national dialogue process to work through a political stalemate and re-start its post-Arab Spring transition process. Libya is also trying to work through its challenges through a holistic, national transition process.

Graffiti in Tripoli on the concrete walls surrounding a neighborhood school. (Photo credit: Joyce Kasee; April 2013)

While there are positive lessons learned from both countries’ experiences, there also have been pitfalls. The Yemeni and Tunisian experiences suggest that the timing of national dialogue processes vis-à-vis other political events and their relationship with other issues involved in political transition (such as institutional reform) are critical to ensuring the national dialogue can meet its stated goals.

The transition process in Libya has spurred discussion about the need for a national dialogue process, one intended to heal the scars both of the decades of dictatorial rule and the challenges of the post-revolutionary period. The challenges facing Libya are massive, including the need for comprehensive national reconciliation and transitional justice, a strategy for improving security, and disarmament and displacement.

A forum to discuss the broader lessons to be learned from the national dialogue processes was held on November 6, 2013 from 9:30-11:00a.m.

This event was co-hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies.

Speakers included:

  • William Taylor, Opening Remarks
    Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, Panelist
    Chairman, Libya Institute for Advanced Studies
  • Radwan Masmoudi, Panelist
    President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy 
  • Daniel Brumberg, Discussant
    Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Erica Gaston, Discussant
    Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Manal Omar, Moderator
    Associate Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, U.S Institute of Peace

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