IES researcher Jan Völkel delivers two lectures in Egypt

In the framework of his MSCA research project “The role of national parliaments in the Arab transformation processes”, IES researcher Dr Jan Claudius Völkel spent two weeks for research in Egypt recently. Besides meetings and discussions with high-level observers of, and experts on, the Egyptian parliament, the main purpose of his stay, he also gave two lectures on different topics at prestigious Political Science departments: On Sunday, 15 April 2018, he spoke on “The German Political Party System” as guest lecturer in a class dealing with European party systems at his former workplace, Cairo University’s “Faculty of Economics and Political Science”. On Wednesday, 18 April 2018, he discussed “Political transition in the Arab world: How to conceptualise and measure democratisation?” with students at the British University in Egypt, providing insights into the methodology of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index 2018. Some 30-40 students attended both lectures, and got engaged in intensive debates about strengths and weaknesses of democracy in both, North Africa and Europe. Students at Cairo University were particularly interested in the recent success of right-wing populist parties in Europe, including Germany, and how this impacts on the quality of democracy over there, while students at the British University problematised whether liberal democracy is a universal concept or has some regional caveats, and whether democratic aspects such as freedom of expression can be sufficiently assessed in authoritarian settings.