Egypt: Why Liberalism Still Matters

Issue Date January 2013
Volume 24
Issue 1
Page Numbers 86-100
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According to conventional Western wisdom, liberal ideas are unpopular among Egyptians, despite what some enthusiastic young people said in Tahrir Square in early 2011. Yet while it is true that social mores have become more conservative in Egypt in recent decades, it is not true that core liberal ideas are in retreat. On the contrary, the essentials of political liberalism—citizens’ rights, government accountability, the rule of law, limits on state power—have become so popular that the liberal ideological field has become crowded.

About the Authors

Michele Dunne

Michele Dunne is senior fellow and director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was the founding director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and has served as a specialist on Middle East affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

View all work by Michele Dunne

Tarek Radwan

Tarek Radwan is associate director for research at the Rafik Hariri Center. He previously reported on the Middle East with Human Rights Watch and served as a human-rights officer for the United Nations–African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur.

View all work by Tarek Radwan