The Failure of Democracy in the Arab Context: The Tunisian Case

Giancarlo Bosetti is the Executive Chair and one of the founders of Reset DOC and Reset, a cultural magazine he founded in 1993. He was vice-editor-in-chief of the Italian daily L’Unità. He is the editor-in-chief of the web-magazine of He is currently contributing to the Italian daily La Repubblica and has been teaching Sociology of Communication at University of Rome La Sapienza and University Roma Tre. He published The lesson of this century (Routledge, 2000), a book-interview with Karl Popper; Cattiva maestra televisione (transl in French, La télévision: un danger pour la démocratie, Anatolia, 1995, and in many other languages). Among his other books: Spin. Trucchi e Tele-imbrogli della Politica, Marsilio, 2007; Il fallimento dei laici furiosi (2009); La verità degli altri. La scoperta del pluralismo in dieci storie, Bollati Boringhieri, 2020 (transl. in English, The Truth of Others, The Discovery of Pluralism in Ten Tales, Springer 2023).

Maryam Ben Salem is Assistant Professor in political studies at the Faculty of Law and Political Science of Sousse. She obtained a degree in political science from Saint Joseph University of Beirut and her Ph. D. in political science from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University. She worked as a researcher at the Center of Arab Woman for Training and Research (CAWTAR). She is currently an associate fellow for this organization and also the vice-president of the Association tunisienne d’études politiques (ATEP). Her research focuses on political islam, participation in politics and the new forms of youth and women commitment. She has published numerous articles, contributed to many book chapters and organized various scientific conferences and workshops on gender and politics.

Giulia De Spuches is professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Palermo. Her areas of research have focused on the concepts of periphery and neighborhood, frontier and diaspora. She is currently working on the body as an investigative tool to analyze differences and forms of resistance within public space.

Marco Di Donato is a fixed-term Senior researcher (Type B) in History of Islamic countries at the University of Palermo. (Department Cultures and Societies). Marco Di Donato holds a PhD in Political Thinking and Political Communication and a Master Degree cum laude in Arabic language and Islamic Studies at L’Orientale University of Naples (Italy). His research interests focus on contemporary history of Arab-Islamic world as well as the evolution of political thought in the Middle East and North Africa region. Author of several publications with Italian and international publishing houses, in 2018 he published a monograph on Salafism edited by La Scuola and in 2019 a book focused on the political thought of Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah. The publication of a monograph entitled “Storia dell’Iraq moderno e contemporaneo” is foreseen at the end of 2023. He is currently responsible for different courses related to Islamic religion, Arabic culture and contemporary history of Arab-Islamic world, in particular the English based MA course in Middle East and North Africa: history, politics, cultures.

Sharan Grewal is an Assistant Professor of Government at William & Mary and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. For 2023-2024, he is in residence as a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative. His first book, Soldiers of Democracy? Military Legacies and the Arab Spring, was published with Oxford University Press in 2023. He received a PhD in Politics from Princeton University in 2018.

Mohammed Hashas [“ḥaṣ-ḥāṣ”] (PhD, Habil.) is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Luiss University of Rome; he is also a Research Fellow affiliate to Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin (2020-present). His research areas are modern intellectual history of the Islamic world, philosophic-theologic thought in the Arab world, European Islamic thought, and contemporary Moroccan thought. Hashas has been a visiting research fellow in Copenhagen, Tilburg, Berlin, Oxford, and a non-resident fellow in Winchester in Virginia. Hashas published The Idea of European Islam (2019), Intercultural Geopoetics (2017), and led the edition of Pluralism in Islamic Contexts (2021), Islamic Ethics and the Trusteeship Paradigm: Taha Abderrahmane’s Philosophy in Comparative Perspectives (2020), Islam, State and Modernity: Mohammed Abed al-Jabri and the Future oft he Arab World (2018), Imams in Western Europe (2018), besides various journal articles and book chapters. Hashas is currently finishing the editing of the first Handbook of Contemporary Moroccan Thought, for Brill 2024 (c. pp. 700). He contributes opinion essays in Arabic and English on religion, politics, philosophy, theology, and society in the Arab world (most of which published at, and collected at his private website: Hashas has also been the scientific coordinator of Resetdoc North African Seminars since 2018.

Abderrazak Kilani is former Ambassador of Tunisia to the United Nations. In 2010 and during the Tunisian Revolution, he was the chairman of the National Bar of Lawyers. In 2012, he served as the Deputy Prime Minister for Relations With the Constituent Assembly under Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

Jonathan Laurence is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College. His principal areas of teaching and research are Comparative Politics and Religion and Politics in Western Europe, Turkey and North Africa. He is a former fellow of the American Academy in Berlin, Wissenchaftszentrum Berlin, Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund, Fafo Institute/Norwegian Research Council, LUISS University-Rome, Sciences Po-Paris and the Brookings Institution. His last publication is Coping with DefeatSunni Islam, Roman Catholicism and the Modern State with Princeton University Press in 2021. Recently he also edited Secularism in Comparative Perspective (Springer, 2023). Laurence is the Executive Director of Reset Dialogues US. 

Radwan Masmoudi is the founder and president of the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID), a Washington-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting freedom, democracy, and good governance in the Arab/Muslim world. Under his leadership, CSID has grown into a major institution with programs and activities in over 20 countries, and over 600 regular and associate members. Throughout his career, he has written and published several articles on Islam, democracy, freedom, and human rights in the Muslim world. He is a frequent commentator on several TV networks including CNN, Al-Jazeera, Fox News, Algerian TV, and MBC.

Renata Pepicelli is an associate professor at the Department of Forms and Civilizations of Knowledge
of the University of Pisa, where she teaches Islamistics and History of Islamic countries. In recent years she has been visiting professor at the University of Bristol (February 2017), at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh (June 2018) and at the Université de Kairouan (February 2020). From October 2014 to July 2015, she was a researcher in the Mediterranean and Middle East program of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), working in the European project specifically, funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Program, “Power2Youth. Freedom, dignity and justice,” on the condition of youth on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean.

Ruth Hanau Santini is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at University of Naples L’Orientale. She has recently worked as conflict advisor at the World Food Programme. She has published widely on Italian and European foreign policy, Middle East and North African politics and security. She is currently working on food security; Central Sahel politics; and humanitarian principles after the war in Ukraine.

Marcello Scalisi is the Director of UNIMED – Mediterranean Universities Union – since 2008. He holds a degree in Historical Sciences and International Cooperation at the Faculty of Literature, Philosophy and Languages of the University of Roma Tre, Italy. He started working at UNIMED in 1998 as a project manager and moved gradually to the coordination of UNIMED’s initiatives and projects. He has extensive experience in managing and monitoring international projects. UNIMED is currently a network of more than 160 universities from more than 25 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean region, with 12 SubNetworks involving more than 400 researchers, around 40 funded projects, 20 staff people and 15 institutional partnerships with important international organizations. Nowadays, UNIMED is a permanent stakeholder of the European Commission and the Union for the Mediterranean.





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