The Arab Spring was a civil uprising mainly of Arab youths in Tunisia and Egypt which commenced in December 2010 and January 2011 respectively. Later, similar rebellions followed in Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.
When the revolutionary protests broke out in Egypt, I was a visiting fellow at the Islam in the West program at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, USA. Political changes in Egypt captured the attention of the world and some academic institutions immediately held discussions and debates on the topic. On 3 February 2011, the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School offered a panel discussion on changing Arab politics and brought some Harvard experts including Professors Tarek Masoud and Rami Khouri on board. Like many other enthusiastic people, I also attended the event. There were many questions such as whether it was a temporary change and whether the panellists were hopeful of democracy and peace in the Middle East. Overall, all were convinced that it was a groundbreaking movement peacefully led by young Egyptians at Tahrir Square in Cairo, and all agreed that only time would tell if this movement would be successful.