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The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Winners - "The Power of Dialogue: Civil Society and Building Democracy from the Bottom Up"

2016-7-21 (Thu) 10:45 - 12:15

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, will visit Osaka University for a special lecture. This Prize was awarded for the Quartet's decisive role in building a pluralistic society in Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, which led to the Arab Spring.

What made the Tunisian civil society so powerful that it succeeded in bringing conflicting parties to dialogue, creating a new constitution and realizing a new round of elections in a difficult transition to democracy? In this rare opportunity, leaders of the Quartet's four organizations will appear together on stage to speak about their experiences.


In 2011, the 24 year-long Ben Ali government in Tunisia fell, which led to the start of a move towards democratization in Tunisia. Following an election in the October following the revolution, Ennahda, an Islamic political party, became the country's leading political party.

Ennahda seized control of the the National Constituent Assembly, which would discuss a new constitution, and advocated a heavily Islamic constitution which would negate the tradition of freedom that had been cultivated to that point, so the party confronted nationalistic and secular opposing forces. The opposition parties refused to participate in the National Constituent Assembly. In addition, 2 leaders of the opposing parties were assassinated in February and July of 2013, which developed into a dangerous political situation, with a number of demonstrations by anti-government factions and government support factions.

In the midst of this unrest, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was formed, consisting of the Tunisian General Labor Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

After the first murder of the leader of an opposing party, in February of 2013, the Quartet began their activity, working on rescuing the transition process toward democratization, which was about to collapse. They served as a "mediator" between opposing factions, presenting a kind of "road map" to the establishment of a new constitution, backed up by Tunisian citizen's strong support, building consensus through "dialogue."

Following this, the leader of Ennahda had resigned in December 2013, and a secular, liberal constitution was drafted under the new cabinet, which was approved by the National Constituent Assembly in January of 2014. The election took place in October of that very same year and the new administration was formed.

Although there were still a number of problems, including security problems and economic disparity, Tunisia had overcome the confrontation with Islamism, and took the first step toward a pluralistic democratic society.

Date: 2016-7-21 (Thu) 10:45 - 12:15
Organizer: Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University; Global Initiative Center, Osaka University; The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Sponsored: EU Institute in Japan, Kansai
Venue: Lecture Hall, Osaka University Hall
Registration: Registration by email is required for this seminar.
Contact: Matsuno Lab, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University

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