Human Rights in Tunisia with Yahd Ben Achour

  • School of International & Public Affairs, Columbia University 420 W. 118th Street, 12th Floor New York, NY 10027

A discussion between Yadh Ben Achour, former President of the High Authority of the Revolution in Tunisia, Yasmine Ergas,Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and Alfred Stepan, Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, on human rights in post-revolution Tunisia.

Yadh Ben Achour is the former President of "The High Authority" of achieving the objectives of the revolution, political reform and democratic transition in Tunisia, whose primary mission was to prepare for the first free elections of the National Constituent Assembly according to democratic standards. In 1992, he resigned from the Constitutional Council on the grounds of President Ben Ali's attempt to control the Tunisian League for Human Rights through a reform of the law on associations. From 1993 to 1999 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences at the University of Carthage. Professor Ben Achour specializes in Islamic political theory and public and international law and is the author of several books, most recently Tunisia: A revolution in an Islamic country, Tunis, CERES Editions, December 2016.

Yasmine Ergas is the Director of the Gender and Public Policy Specialization and the Senior Advisor with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Prof. Ergas is a lawyer and sociologist by training and a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs at (SIPA). She is a member of the Executive Committee of the University’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is the co-chair of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council at Columbia University. A lawyer and sociologist, she has worked on issues regarding gender and women’s rights as a policy analyst and advisor, scholar and advocate. Professor Ergas has served as a consultant to international and domestic policy organizations, including UN Women, the OECD, UNESCO, the Millennium Villages Project, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and CENSIS, a major applied social research institute in Italy, and been on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. Similarly, Professor Ergas has served as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Social Sector of the Millennium Cities Initiative, the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice, the editorial board of ingenere.it, the board of New York City Global Partners, and the board of Women Strong International, among others.

Alfred Stepan is Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion (CDTR), and the Co-Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL). In 2012 he was the recipient of the Karl Deutsch Award of the International Political Science Association. He is the author of numerous publications on comparative politics, theories of democratic transitions, federalism, and the world's religious systems and democracy, including “Tunisia’s Transition and the Twin Tolerations” in Journal of Democracy (April 2012) and “Democratization Theory and the ‘Arab Spring’”, Journal of Democracy (April 2013), (with J. Linz)

This event is sponsored by Columbia Global Centers together with SIPA's Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy Concentration, Gender and Public Policy Specialization, the Human Rights Institute at the Law School, and the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.