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Supporting the Civic Society in the Transformation Path Toward Democracy in Egypt, 2011

 

Association for International Affairs

Financial support by Foreign Affairs Ministry:  CZK 319 725

The Association for International Affairs organised a series of seminars on the Czech transformation experience in Cairo and northern city of Mahalla in the framework of the Transformation cooperation program 2010. The aim of the seminar was to inform the Egyptian audience about the life and institutions of the transformation in the central Europe in general and in the Czech Republic in particular. The target group consisted of young civic activists, members of the Egyptian civic society, journalists and members of the political parties.

In the preparation stage (May-June), AMO fulfilled a part of its first goal to enter into direct contacts with actors of the ongoing changes and get information about the transformation processes. AMO contacted its first partner organization Tahrir Lounge in May, opened co-operation with the Egyptian Democratic Academy (EDA) in July and entered into working contact with the Czech Embassy in Cairo. AMO prepared first of its outputs based on discussions and consultations with the partner organizations. These were information materials for participants of the seminars about the Czech transformation experience, content of lectures of individual experts etc. Simultaneously AMO created a team of Czech experts, who were to deliver lectures in Egypt and discussed with them the content of their seminars aiming at specific themes.

In the implementation phase (July), AMO followed three main objectives: a) to deliver lessons learned from the Czech transformation experience in particular field in the form of seminars; b) to elicit discussions on relevancy of the European experience and particularities of the Egyptian transformation; c) to define specific fields of future activities of Czech NGOs within a programme for long-term support for democratization.

On 2ž and 27 July, AMO organized a two day seminar titled Lessons Learned: Democratic Transformation Experience of the Czech Republic on political, media and civic society strategies for the transformation in three different panels. A number of people from different NGOs and various activists groups attended the seminar, which was held the Czech Embassy in Cairo. The panels were divided into two blocks: lectures were held in the first block followed by a discussion. AMO has got an overview of the main interests areas of the Egyptian society related to the first stages of the Egyptian transformation.

On 28 July, AMO continued its project with holding a seminar in northern city of Mahalla with 40 attendees. The thematic structure of the seminar focused on the three types of transformation strategies. The seminar was an outcome of a bilateral cooperation between AMO and EDA. The event was hosted by EDA´s Mahalla office. The seminar took a form of an intensive four-hour-long discussion among three Czech experts and local attendees (members of local organization and political parties). The discussion has presented a wide range of interesting inputs and information on both sides.

The second output of AMO’s project was an analysis of the current stages of the Egyptian transformation published on AMO website titled The Arab Spring: Half a year after the Egyptian revolution.

The seminars has provided AMO with a large contact network, which was necessary for holding informal talks with representatives of different organizations on preparation of AMO future activities in Egypt. Thanks to a variety of organization and participants at the seminars, AMO has acquired a better overview of key questions that the Egyptian society is facing in this phase of its democratic transformation.  Consultations and discussions with partner organizations has also served to elaborate future potential projects in Egypt into more details.

A complex evaluation of the project took place at a debate organized by AMO on 15 September in the CERGE Institute in Prague. The debate targeted Czech NGOs, representatives of the Foreign Ministry’s Transformation Department, journalists and the public. This public debate presented outcomes of the activities of Czech NGOs in Egypt. At the debate AMO analysts and representatives of Europeum and People in Need shared their experience from the region. The public debate focused on summarizing recommendations for the Czech Foreign Ministry and other Czech NGOs for their future activities in Egypt.

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