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Obama Praises Tunisia as Model of Arab Spring

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday praised Tunisia as the poster child of the Arab Spring, as Washington unveiled $500 million in new assistance to help revive the North Africa nation’s faltering economy as it continues its march toward democracy.

International Women's Day 2014: MENA Women

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In honor of International Women’s Day, the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center asked a diverse group of experts from business, politics, media, and civil society to contribute to its third annual report on women’s status in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The publication, “MENA Women: Opportunities and Obstacles in 2014,” includes entries from forty-three women across twenty countries in the region and beyond, offering a broad and timely set of perspectives on the future of women in the Arab world.

Tunisia: Let Constitution Herald Human Rights Era

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The adoption of Tunisia’s new constitution should set in motion a wide-ranging overhaul of laws and public institutions, Al Bawsala, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch said today. The constitution, which guarantees many fundamental rights and freedoms, should be implemented in a way that will provide the highest degree of protection of Tunisians’ human rights.

Tunisia Is Succeeding Where Egypt Failed

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The optimism of the Arab Spring seems to have evaporated in the past three years. Just look at Syria and its brutal civil war. Or Egypt, where the third anniversary of the revolution was marked by more violence, and where a new military strong man seems to be gaining the upper hand. But then there's Tunisia, the nation where the Arab Spring began.

Tunisian Constitution, Praised For Balance, Nears Passage

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Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly is close to passing a new Constitution that legislators across the political spectrum, human rights organizations and constitutional experts are hailing as a triumph of consensus politics. Two years in the making and now in its third draft, the charter is a carefully worded blend of ideas that has won the support of both Ennahda, the Islamist party that leads the interim government, and the secular opposition. It is being hailed as one of the most liberal constitutions in an Arab nation.

Tunisia’s “Rebellion” Campaign Collects 1.7 Million Anti-Govt Votes

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Inspired by Egypt’s “Tamarod” (rebellion) campaign, a Tunisian petition has so far collected around 1.7 million signatures in a move to oust the current Islamist government, the group’s founder said in an interview with the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper published on Monday. The founder Mohamed Bennour said the group is determined to bring down the current government, regardless of any attempts for national dialogue between the opposition and the governing authorities.

Last Hope

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Last week Tunisia seemed to be heading for the whirlpool that has sucked Egypt down. The secular opposition had taken to the streets to demand that the Islamist government resign. The National Constituent Assembly, charged with writing a constitution, had been shut down. The state was paralyzed. This week, all the warring parties are talking to each other. The spirit of compromise could evaporate, but my impression, from talking to people on all sides over the last few days, is that Tunisia has a decent chance of avoiding catastrophe. Why is that?

A Cafe Where the Spirit of the Arab Spring Lives On

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In the heat of the afternoon, especially this past month of Ramadan, downtown Tunis plays dead. Offices and shops close at 2 p.m. and life is suspended as everyone, parched and hungry, waits for sunset and the breaking of the fast. On a side street behind the Interior Ministry, the only movement is the occasional rumble of a tram, the only sound the trill of its bell warning pedestrians to step off the tracks.

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