Governance: Noura Erakat and Lisa Anderson

"Social Change and the Global Middle East" Series with the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy
Noura Erakat, Lisa Anderson, and moderator Hocine Fetni
Mar 31, 2022 at - | The Forum (Room 250), Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics

Mitchell Center


As the Middle East becomes increasingly destabilized with armed conflict, civil wars, refugee crises and more – it may seem curious to focus on the issue of governance. But these factors are indicative of a larger trend: the collapse of the state system that defined the region for the better part of a half-century. Ineffective governments, unable to keep up with the expectations of citizens against the backdrop of globalization, failed to make the necessary adjustments to their state's social contracts. The political elite leaned into the use of repression and coercion to silence dissent, all while undermining the social and civic institutions necessary for the political participation and buy-in of citizens. Not only did this effort to quell popular uprisings backfire; it created the conditions necessary for extremist groups to thrive. As the region attempts to rebuild, an understanding of good governance and social trust is more important than ever. Lisa Anderson and Noura Erakat, moderated by Hocine Fetni, discuss the meaning of governance in the MENA region, as well as electoral politics and political participation, separation of power doctrines, control of corruption, and the position of the global Middle East within the international order.

Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in the Department of Africana Studies and the Program in Criminal Justice. Erakat earned her J.D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and a LLM in National Security from Georgetown University Law Center. Her research interests lie in human rights law, humanitarian law, national security law, refugee law, social justice, and critical race theory. Erakat is an editorial committee member of the Journal for Palestine Studies and a co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya. Erakat has appeared on numerous media platforms, namely CBS News, CNN International with Becky Anderson, Fox’s “The O’ Reilly Factor,” NBC’s “Politically Incorrect,” PBS News Hour, NPR, BBC World Service, and Al-Jazeera America, Arabic, and English. 

Lisa Anderson is a Special Lecturer and James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations Emerita at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Anderson received her PhD in Political Science at Columbia University. Anderson served as President of the American University in Cairo for five years, from 2011-2016. Prior to her appointment as President, she was the University’s provost from 2008. She is Dean Emerita of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia from 1997 to 2007. She has also taught at Princeton and Harvard Universities. Her research included work on state formation in the Middle East and North Africa, regime change and democratization in developing countries, and on social science, academic research and public policy both in the United States and around the world. Some of her published books are The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (1986) and Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (2003). 

Hocine Fetni is an Assistant Dean for Academic Advising in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Fetni holds a law degree from New York University and a Master of Laws, as well as a PhD in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. As a member of the Sociology Department faculty, he has developed courses on topics such as law and society, law in Africa, law and social change, and the sociology of the legal profession. He also teaches international law and the theory of international relations.