It has been five years since the uprisings that swept through the Middle East and came to be known as the Arab Spring. The ensuing developments in various countries have provided abundant material for both supporters and opponents of the uprisings and the various actors involved in the unfolding of events. Mostly, the outcome has been far from ideal, with the region at large suffering from instability, rising sectarianism, dire economies, barbaric terrorism, and overall gloomy prospects of a better future for the people of the region. Notwithstanding the unique characteristics of each country's circumstances, what lessons could be drawn from developments thus far? What trajectory would bring stability to many war-torn states and countries going through the painful process of state building? How could the rise of religious extremism be curbed? By whom?
Mutayyam al O'ran is George Soros Visiting Practitioner Chair at the School of Public Policy in the spring term 2016. She has been working as a government advisor on political and international relations issues in Jordan for the last nine years. Her areas of expertise are conflict resolution, research peace building, political analysis/recommendation, and counter radicalization. Al O'ran has also held senior positions at donor-funded initiatives and worked at a number of diplomatic missions in different capacities. She is the author of Jordanian-Israeli Relations: the Peacebuilding Experience, 1994-2003 (Routledge, 2008).