by Rachel Williams
Left to right: Levi Newton, UWG Nursing student and veteran; Dr. Neema Noori; and Robin Moore Collins, president of the League of Women Voters of Carrollton and UWG alumna (’74, ’96, ’03, ’04).
Dr. Neema Noori, University of West Georgia sociology professor, was the guest speaker for the March 27 Great Decisions lecture at the Tracy Stallings Community Center. The lecture, “Islamic Awakening,” began at 7 p.m. and was preceded by a half-hour PBS documentary about the aftermath of the Arab Spring in several African countries. The event, which was free and open to the public, was locally sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Carrollton and the Rotary Club of Carrollton. A lively discussion followed the lecture.
Dr. Noori explained the connection between agricultural economies and the recent revolutions for democracy in the Arab world. “The countries that experienced the Arab Spring were not big oil exporters,” he explains. “Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, they had no Arab Spring. Iraq had a little bit of Arab Spring, not much. In Egypt, there’s not a lot of oil, and they saw a powerful transformation! Tunisia, which has very little oil, had what I would argue was the most successful transition to democracy.”
He continues, “It’s easy to get pessimistic about the future of Egypt right now, but what I remind myself is that democratic revolutions take time to reach a promising democratic future. Look at France: you get the French Revolution followed by 30 years of terror. In Germany, they took tentative steps toward a democratic republic, and they produced Hitler! We need to keep in mind that democratic transitions take a long time to fulfill themselves and their promises.”
The Floyd Hoskins Great Decisions Program 2014 began February 6 and met weekly to discuss world affairs. Attendees had the option to purchase books containing additional information about each week’s topic. The program is produced by the Foreign Policy Association and has been adopted as a national flagship education program by the World Affairs Councils of America. Other topics included defense technology, Israel and the U.S., energy independence, China’s foreign policy and Turkey’s challenges.