Why the Arab awakening depends on social entrepreneurs

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

By Iman Bibars, vice-president of Ashoka Global and regional director of Ashoka Arab World.

For two years, I have resisted use of the term Arab Spring to describe the events that have been unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa. It is an unrealistic label to use, its application verging on naïve, even lazy, in this situation. Spring is a time where something with strong roots, carefully nurtured, flourishes and grows. We are not there yet; I hope that we may be soon.

What the world witnessed in the initial 18 days of uprising and subsequent political and social developments was a rediscovery of our ability to effect change, a realisation that mass protest is one way to make our collective voice heard.

But just as the myriad causes of that uprising had been entrenched in our society since long before the 25 January 2011, so have we seen in the two years that followed that they will not be solved by demonstrations alone. The voices of Egyptian citizens need to be heard everywhere: in courtrooms, in newspapers, in schools, in religious buildings, in government institutions.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)