Gro Harlem Brundtland and Jimmy Carter have both travelled to Egypt this year to speak to students and staff at the American University in Cairo. In their remarks, they reflected on the developments in Egypt since the uprising that removed Hosni Mubarak from power, and considered the challenges remaining in the country’s transition to a free, democratic and peaceful society.
An inclusive future
Delivering the Nadia Younes Memorial Lecture on 12 March 2012, Gro Harlem Brundtland underlined the importance of women’s participation – in politics as well as in the private sector – for Egypt’s economic and social development.
“You cannot build the best team,” she argued, “if you exclude at least half your potential players from even being considered for selection.”
In his lecture on 26 May 2012, Jimmy Carter spoke about the challenges that remain in Egypt’s democratic transition, in particular those relating to the balance of power between the different branches of government. However, he expressed his belief that the people of Egypt will successfully overcome these challenges.
“I have much confidence in the future of your great country,” he said. “I believe that you will continue to do right and to demand a democratic society that respects human rights and enables broad participation in political affairs. I believe the trend towards democracy in Egypt is inevitable.”
Extracts of Gro Harlem Brundtland and Jimmy Carter’s speeches were recently published on the website of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, the journal of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo.
Standing with those who strive to better their societies
Since the beginning of the wave of popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa over a year ago, The Elders have continued to monitor developments in the region closely.
In February 2011, the Elders expressed their solidarity with those who strove to better their societies and achieve freedom and basic rights. Earlier this year, they released a statement congratulating the Egyptian people on the holding of peaceful parliamentary elections and called for the transfer of power from military to civilian rule to take place as soon as possible.
Read more about The Elders’ work on the Arab Awakening.