Emerging Memory-Related Challenges for MENA
in Conflict and Post-Conflict Countries
By UMAM Documentation and Research
In Partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
© UMAM D&R, 2017 - Arabic & English

In November 2014, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and UMAM Documentation and Research (UMAM D&R) hosted a conference in Beirut titled STATES OF TRANSITION. Associated with a broader effort in which the two organizations had engaged separately, the symposium was intended to help promote a multifaceted and regionally oriented exchange of ideas focused on issues related to memory, conflict and transition-related dilemmas including transitional justice. The overall effort necessitated an examination of the many approaches being used by people, societies and governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to reconcile regime change with the attendant turmoil.

Certainly, such examinations must be repeated periodically, as they must be sufficiently current to parallel with the unfolding situation in the region as well as in each country. Thus, we believe that the 2014 conference should be documented and examined to determine if it should be elaborated upon and perhaps conducted again. 

There is some agreement that the turbulence being experienced in the MENA region is unprecedented in terms of its remarkable violence. With that in mind, some people (and organizations) are seeking to contain the situation at any cost, as they are concerned that such instability always leads to greater uncertainty. Alternatively, others believe that stabilization will lead inevitably to challenges, chief among them the question related to issues we eventually categorized as being related to transitional justice.

The STATES OF TRANSITION conference engaged these perspectives by bringing together individuals from throughout the region to review a broad range of issues. All told, thirteen MENA region countries were represented by either individuals or organizations. The issues at hand related not only to ongoing events throughout MENA, but also (and primarily) to work that could be done in the areas of transitional justice and memory. Of course, condition in many MENA countries are not what they were when the conference took place. 

The publication is available at the offices of both UMAM D&R and FES.