The Arab Spring and democracy: Where are we 18 months in? Could an observer of the Arab World two years ago have envisioned a presidential election in Egypt with a Muslim Brotherhood candidate winning in the presidency, a state of civil war in Syria, an overthrown dictatorship in Tunisia, Muammar Gaddafi killed? No one predicted what is going on. But more importantly, is the Arab World on a path to democracy? Is it going toward a better future? Or is it hitting stumbling blocks that are going to delay this process for many, many years to come?"
Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns
Nicholas Burns is director of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Strategy Group. He is also professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics and faculty chair for programs on the Middle East, India, and South Asia at the Harvard Kennedy School. Burns is a senior counselor at The Cohen Group. Previously, he was undersecretary of state for political affairs, the State Department’s third-ranking official; US ambassador to NATO from 2001 to 2005 and to Greece from 1997 to 2001; and State Department spokesman from 1995 to 1997. He worked on the National Security Council as senior director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia affairs under President Bill Clinton and, before that, director for Soviet affairs for President George H.W. Bush.
Hala Gorani is an anchor on “International Desk” and correspondent for CNN International. In addition to her anchoring duties, Gorani often goes into the field to report on major breaking news stories. She was part of a small team of journalists allowed into Syria last summer for the first time since the protests began. She reported extensively from Jordan and Egypt and has been instrumental in CNN’s coverage of the Arab Spring. Her work in Egypt helped CNN win a Peabody Award recognizing the network’s coverage of the revolts in the Arab world. In 2010, Gorani covered the devastating earthquake in Haiti, for which CNN’s coverage was recognized with a Golden Nymph Award, one of the highest honors in international journalism. Gorani formerly hosted “Inside the Middle East,” a monthly show featuring stories on the most important social, political, and cultural issues in the region. @halagorani
As a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, David Rothkopf has written Running the World: The Inside Story of the NSC and the Architects of American Power, published numerous articles on America's role in the world, and directed the efforts of the Carnegie Economic Strategy Roundtable.
His most recent book, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making, examines the power of global elites, how they are shaping globalization and being shaped by it.
In addition, he is also president and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm specializing in emerging markets investing and risk management related services. Previously, Rothkopf was founder, chairman and CEO of Intellibridge, a firm offering open-source intelligence and advisory services on international issues, after serving for two years as managing director of Kissinger Associates.
Rothkopf served as deputy under secretary of commerce for international trade policy in the Clinton Administration. In this capacity, he played a central role in developing and directing the Administration's ground breaking Big Emerging Markets Initiative.
Rothkopf came to the government after founding and serving as chairman and chief executive officer of International Media Partners, where he was editor and publisher of CEO magazine and Emerging Markets newspapers, and chairman of the CEO Institutes.
He currently serves as Chairman of the National Strategic Investment Dialogue and as a member of the advisory boards of the US Institute of Peace and the Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg School of Public Health.
A prolific writer, he is the author of more than 150 articles on international themes for publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and others.
Ms. Verstandig is Chairman of the Aspen Institute's Middle East Programs and Senior Vice President at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. At Aspen she oversees the Secretariat for the recently launched Partners for New Beginning (PNB) which constitutes a group of distinguished American leaders who are committed to using their expertise, relationships and access to resources to build a collection of public-private partnerships which broaden and deepen engagement between the United States and local communities on issues of economic opportunity, science & technology, education, and exchange to help advance President Obama's Cairo vision. Aspen Middle East programs also include a dialogue with the UAE, a Lebanon program, the North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO), and the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership (UPP), which promotes economic opportunities for the Palestinian people through a public-private partnership, in order to support progress toward a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian people.
From November 1994 until January 2001, Ms. Verstandig served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs at the US Department of State. In this capacity, she directed and coordinated U.S. bilateral relations and overall policy development concerning Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, as well as U.S. economic and commercial policies in the Middle East. Ms. Verstandig also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. She chaired the bilateral Committees on Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Ms. Verstandig is a graduate of Boston University and Stephens College, and also holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Seton Hill College. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the Board and Executive Committee of Children's National Medical Center, the Board of the University of Denver Korbel School for International Affairs, the National Advisory Board for the Catholic Center for the Study of the Holocaust, the Board of Trustees of the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center, and that of the Center for Global Development. Ms. Verstandig is married, and they have one child.