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Mariela Baeva
Mariela Baeva
Member of the European Parliament for Bulgaria
2007 - 2009
(first direct EP elections in Bulgaria);

LEED to OECD partner (Nanotech)

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Young people in partnership with @Theirworld demanded action on the #GlobalEducationCrisis and world leaders have listened. #IFFEd will unlock billions for children globally and help deliver a world where every child has a place in school. #LetMeLearn

Theirworld, Your Walk: Thank you! –

Nous venons de signer cette lettre ouverte pour demander aux chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de faire de l’école gratuite pour tous les enfants un droit humain universel.

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As Gaza is bombed and starved, the Arab world is watching – and it’s angry by Nesrine Malik (The Guardian)

A few years after the end of Lebanon’s civil war, when the country seemed like one that had buried its past of conflict for ever, I heard an interview on the BBC with a Lebanese woman from Beirut that has stayed with me for 30 years. She was asked if the country, then a flourishing cultural hub that seemed to take over the Arab airwaves and satellite TV almost overnight, had healed the deep divisions that fuelled the war. “They are buried,” she said. “But if you squeeze me very tight, it’s all still there, deep inside me.” Continue reading:

Frustration and anger fuel wave of youth unrest in Arab world by The Guardian

Eight years after the Arab spring, unrest has shaken the Middle East and north Africa, amid youth joblessness and falling oil prices

Tunisia’s integrity challenge*

More than seven years after the revolution that toppled President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia is still beset with numerous tensions. These bubbled to the surface in January 2018 with protests against unpopular tax measures and corruption. As in 2001, Tunisia’s young people embody the revolt and fight against corruption that has become endemic in the country. Their angry slogans express the disappointed hopes of a nation that rose up against a dictator and his abusive regime.

Continue reading

Tunisia: Austerity bites by The Economist


Seven years after sparking the Arab spring, Tunisians are back on the streets to protest against a new finance law. The law took effect on January 1st and has caused widespread price hikes. The government claims that it had no choice: it must bring the deficit down to honour a deal with the International Monetary Fund. This has not assuaged Tunisians, who are frustrated by a stagnant economy. Worse, they are in for more austerity

First report for the Lancet Commission on Syria*

A report comes on the sixth year of the Syrian conflict, which grew out of the 2011 Arab Spring protests. There were nearly 200 attacks on healthcare facilities in 2016 alone, say the researchers.

*credit: The Guardian

Tunisia: In Sun and Shadow*,4EUX9,IH7ONC,G8JXE,1

*Legatum Institute

From Analysis to Action – Multidimensional Country Reviews by Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre*

Multidimensional Country Reviews (MDCRs) support developing countries in designing development strategies that aim for high impact. These strategies address the binding constraints to development, defined as sustainable and equitable growth and well-being. A growing number of developing countries worldwide are implementing MDCRs. Many see the MDCR as a tool to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

The OECD’s 2012 Strategy on Development put forward the MDCR as a response to a twofold challenge. First, all countries face challenges that are specific to their individual circumstances and their level of social, institutional, and economic development. Only mutual learning and the adaptation of expertise and policy advice to the inner workings and outer circumstances of a country can achieve better policies for better lives. Second, policy makers, especially from developing countries, shared feedback that while the OECD’s sector-specific policy expertise was excellent, little is offered to inform a comprehensive strategy and manage the trade-offs. Yet, key policymakers, especially at the centre of government, were seeking precisely this overarching analysis and where to prioritise efforts and in what sequence.

Shortly before the 2012 Strategy on Development, the Arab Spring shook up a number of beliefs about development. Take Tunisia for example. It had very high marks on all indicators according to the Millennium Development Goals and standard macroeconomic guidance: 3% fiscal deficit, 5% average growth since 1990, 100% primary enrolment rate since 2008, 80% healthcare coverage for its population, and a good reformer in doing business. Although of little surprise in hindsight, the uprisings revealed the need for a broader understanding of what progress means for a country. Observers had completely overlooked the importance of social cohesion, the highly unequal regional distribution of opportunities, and the inability of the institutional and productive systems to adapt to changing circumstances. Continue reading

A Climate of Change (A Special Report by The Economist Concerning the Arab Spring)

The Arab Spring

A wave of pro-democracy protests and uprisings that took place in the Middle East and North Africa beginning in 2010 and 2011*.

As the year 2011 opened, the pro-democracy movements stirred on the EU’s southern doorstep across the Mediterranean Sea in Tunisia. In the early part of the year, the same impulse toward democracy spread across North Africa, first to Egypt and then to Libya. Soon after, the rebellion penetrated the Middle East, where mass protests in Syria demanded political reform. The so-called Arab Spring demanded swift and clear foreign-policy responses. Political sociologist and human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim used this phrase first in February 2005, when he predicted that Egyptian elections ‘’may well usher in an Arab spring of freedom’’. Six years later, protesters adopted it as Tunisia’s revolt inspired others in Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Bahrain.

In January and February 2011, protests in Tunisia and Egypt succeeded in a matter of weeks in toppling two regimes thought to be among the region’s most stable. The first demonstrations took place in central Tunisia in December 2010, catalyzed by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old street vendor protesting his treatment by local officials. A protest movement, dubbed the “Jasmine Revolution” in the media, quickly spread through the country. The Tunisian government attempted to end the unrest by using violence against street demonstrations and by offering political and economic concessions. However, protests soon overwhelmed the country’s security forces, compelling Pres. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to step down and flee the country in January 2011. In October 2011, Tunisians participated in a free election to choose members of a council tasked with drafting a new constitution. A democratically chosen president and prime minister took office in December 2011.

Massive protests broke out in Egypt in late January 2011, only days after Ben Ali’s ouster in Tunisia. The Egyptian government also tried and failed to control protests by offering concessions while cracking down violently against protesters. After several days of massive demonstrations and clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo and around the country, a turning point came at the end of the month when the Egyptian army announced that it would refuse to use force against protesters calling for the removal of Pres. Ḥosnī Mubārak. Having lost the support of the military, Mubārak left office on February 11 after nearly 30 years, ceding power to a council of senior military officers.

In the period of the euphoria that followed, the new military administration enjoyed high public approval, since the military had played a decisive role in ending the Mubārak regime. However, optimism was dampened when the new administration appeared hesitant to begin a full transfer of power to an elected government and when military and security forces resumed the use of violence against protesters. Confrontations between protesters and security forces became frequent occurrences. In spite of a multiday outbreak of violence in late November 2011, parliamentary elections proceeded as scheduled and the newly elected People’s Assembly held its inaugural session in late January 2012.


Encouraged by protesters’ rapid successes in Tunisia and Egypt, protest movements took hold in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria in late January, February, and March 2011. In these countries, however, outpourings of popular discontent led to protracted bloody struggles between opposition groups and ruling regimes.

In Yemen, where the first protests appeared in late January 2011, Pres. ʿAlī ʿAbd Allāh Ṣāliḥ’s base of support was damaged when a number of the country’s most powerful tribal and military leaders aligned themselves with the pro-democracy protesters calling for him to step down. When negotiations to remove Ṣāliḥ from power failed, loyalist and opposition fighters clashed in Sanaa. Ṣāliḥ left Yemen in June to receive medical treatment after he was injured in a bomb attack, raising hopes among the opposition that a transition would begin. Ṣāliḥ returned to the country unexpectedly four months later. In November 2011 Ṣāliḥ signed an internationally mediated agreement calling for a phased transfer of power to the vice president, ʿAbd Rabbuh Manṣūr Hadī. In accordance with the agreement, Hadī took over governing responsibility immediately and formally assumed the presidency after standing as the sole candidate in a presidential election in February 2012.

Mass protests demanding political and economic reforms erupted in Bahrain in mid-February 2011, led by Bahraini human rights activists and members of Bahrain’s marginalized Shīʿite majority. Protests were violently suppressed by Bahraini security forces, aided by a force of about 1,500 soldiers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that entered the country in March. By the end of the month, the mass protest movement had been stifled. In the aftermath of the protests, dozens of accused protest leaders were convicted of antigovernment activity and imprisoned, hundreds of Shīʿite workers suspected of supporting the protests were fired, and dozens of Shīʿite mosques were demolished by the government. In November 2011 an independent investigation into the uprising, commissioned by the Bahraini government, concluded that the government had used excessive force and torture against protesters. The government vowed to act on the recommendations for reform included in the report.

In Libya protests against the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi in mid-February 2011 quickly escalated into an armed revolt. When the rebel forces appeared to be on the verge of defeat in March, an international coalition led by NATO launched a campaign of air strikes targeting Qaddafi’s forces. Although NATO intervention ultimately shifted the military balance in favour of the rebel forces, Qaddafi was able to cling to power in the capital, Tripoli, for several more months. He was forced from power in August 2011 after rebel forces took control of Tripoli. After evading capture for several weeks, Qaddafi was killed in Surt in October 2011 as rebel forces took control of the city.

The challenges of governing Libya in the post-Qaddafi era became apparent soon after the internationally recognized provisional government, known the Transitional National Council (TNC), took power. The TNC struggled to restart the Libyan economy, establish functional institutions of government, and exert control over the many autonomous regional and tribal militias that had participated in the rebellion against Qaddafi.

In Syria protests calling for the resignation of Pres. Bashar al-Assad broke out in southern Syria in mid-March 2011 and spread through the country. The Assad regime responded with a brutal crackdown against protesters, drawing condemnation from international leaders and human rights groups. A leadership council for the Syrian opposition formed in Istanbul in August, and opposition militias began to launch attacks on government forces. In spite of the upheaval, Assad’s hold on power appeared strong, as he was able to retain the support of critical military units composed largely of members of Syria’s ʿAlawite minority, to which Assad also belonged. Meanwhile, divisions in the international community made it unlikely that international military intervention, which had proved decisive in Libya, would be possible in Syria. Russia and China vetoed UN Security Council resolutions meant to pressure the Assad regime in October 2011 and February 2012 and vowed to oppose any measure that would lead to foreign intervention in Syria or Assad’s removal from power. The arrival of a delegation of peace monitors from the Arab League in December 2011 did little to reduce violence. The monitoring mission was suspended several weeks later over concerns for the safety of the monitors.

The effects of the Arab Spring movement were felt elsewhere throughout the Middle East and North Africa as many of the countries in the region experienced at least minor pro-democracy protests. In Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman, rulers offered a variety of concessions, ranging from the dismissal of unpopular officials to constitutional changes.


*Excerpts from Encyclopædia Britannica

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