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Reviews: NGOs and Governance in the Arab World

Winter 2007 Vol. V, No. 2

Reviews: NGOs and Governance in the Arab World

MainGate Winter 2007: New Year, New Look!


NGOs and Governance in the Arab World
(AUC Press: 2005) by Sarah Ben Nefissa, Nabil Abd al-Fattah, Sari Hanafi, and Carlos Milani.

Most non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Arab world have traditionally been active in the areas of social work and charity, often within a religious or communal framework. Recently, however, many of these organizations have become forums for conflicts among different political trends, while others have tackled political problems such as human rights or issues of democracy.

Can NGOs in the Arab world be considered full-fledged participants in efforts to achieve good governance and national and local development? Is the relationship between NGOs and public authorities at the national and local level one of partnership or opposition and competition? How should the relationship between NGOs and society be defined? Do Arab NGOs highlight issues that would otherwise not be addressed by traditional public authorities? The studies in this collection, arising out of the Conference on NGOs and Governance in the Arab World held in Cairo in March 2003, attempt to answer these and other areas of concern.

Sari Hanafi is an associate professor in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences.