The Arab Spring, or Arab Awakening, made headlines in early 2011, with the first uprisings starting in Tunisia in December 2010 and in Egypt in January 2011, then spreading across the Middle East and Northern Africa in the spring. Some protests resulted in governments being overthrown and free elections being held for the first time in years; in other countries, the struggle for democracy continues. Although these events took place halfway around the world, several Trinity alumnae have unique perspectives on the Arab Spring and some were even there to witness key moments. Dr. Margot Farranto Badran ’58, a historian of Islam and feminism, kept a journal as she marched with women protesters in Tahir Square; Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Caryle Murphy ’68 was in the Middle East writing definitive articles on major events; former Congresswoman Barbara Bailey Kennelly ’58 traveled to Egypt to monitor the elections; and Dr. Jane Dammen McAuliffe ’68, an Islamic scholar and president of Bryn Mawr College, renewed her commitment to her interfaith dialogues between Muslims and Christians and to her leadership role in global education.
This issue of TRINITY magazine examines the political and economic conditions that led to the Arab Spring and what the future may bring, offers eyewitness accounts of some of the key events as they unfolded in Egypt, assesses the impact of U.S. foreign policy, and explores the value of interfaith dialogues – now more than ever.