George W. Bush Presidential Center “Wave of Freedom” Conference
In recent months, the world has witnessed dramatic expressions of freedom across the Middle East. Touched off by Mohamed Bouazizi, the 26–year–old Tunisian fruit vendor who set himself on fire to protest an attack on his economic liberty, millions of brave men and women have demonstrated their commitment to a future rooted in freedom. These events reconfirm that the desire for freedom is universal.
One of the first dramatic signs that the Middle East status quo was in doubt occurred two years ago in Tehran. Responding to fraudulent presidential elections, thousands of Iranians joined together using cell phones, social networking sites and traditional methods of nonviolent civil resistance to decry a stolen opposition victory.
Though police ultimately suppressed the protests with violence, the Green Movement’s cutting–edge demonstrations — along with other recent freedom movements, such as Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution — undoubtedly gave inspiration to the protests in Tunisia and Egypt, which in turn have strengthened the resolve of freedom advocates in the Middle East and beyond.
As the wave of freedom spreads across the Arab world, what early lessons can be learned for those who seek democracy in countries like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Burma? Activists, technology experts, government leaders and scholars will address this question by analyzing the challenges and successes of recent uprisings, enhancing understanding of technology’s role and considering the impact on those who still struggle for freedom around the world.
12:00 — 1:00 p.m
The Honorable James K. Glassman
Executive Director, George W. Bush Institute
President George W. Bush
Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Thomas and Barbara Stephenson
Senior Fellow on Public Policy, Hoover Institution
Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
Former U.S. Secretary of State
Chair, George W. Bush Institute Advisory Board
1:00 — 1:30 p.m.
A Conversation with Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim Via Video-Teleconference
Democracy and Human Rights Activist
Professor of Political Sociology at
The American University in Cairo
President, National Endowment for Democracy
1:45 — 2:45 p.m.
What Really Happened?
Social Media and the Uprisings in the Middle East
2:45 — 3:45 p.m.
The Future of Freedom in the Middle East
Stories from the Frontlines
4:00 — 4:15 p.m.
Mrs. Laura Bush
4:15 — 5:15 p.m.
Beyond the Arab World
Gauging the Impact on Other Undemocratic Regimes
Director of Human Freedom, George W. Bush Institute