Egyptians to debate divisions and intolerance at Alexandria library

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 Jan 2013

Debate on political, social and religious divisions in Egypt will take place days before second anniversary of January 25 Revolution

Tim Sebastian
Founder and Chairman of Doha Debates Tim Sebastian

The Main Hall of the Library of Alexandria is to host debates in English and Arabic on the motion, "This House believes Egypt is becoming dangerously divided and intolerant."

Former BBC television journalist Tim Sebastian will present the English debate on Monday, 21 January at 7pm.

Egyptian TV presenter Mai El-Sherbiny will present the Arabic version with different speakers and audience a day later.

"Since the revolution, the Islamist parties have won every referendum and every election. But how much of the country actually supports them, and where are the fault lines between different sections of society? Is President Morsi a leader for all Egypt or a politician intent on maximising the power and influence of his own movement? Just some of the questions we hope our debate will address,” Sebastian said.

Both moderators will question two panellists – one supporting the motion and the other against it – and invite the audience of university students and political activists to quiz the speakers before deciding the issue by electronic vote.

The New Arab Debates, which was founded by Sebastian in early 2011, are a high profile platform to foster democratic accountability after the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The debates are funded by the British and Swedish governments and encompass an extensive outreach campaign in schools and universities with the aim of encouraging young people to participate in the political dialogue and development of their country.

Both debates will be transmitted for the second year on Deutche Welle TV in Arabic and English along with its global network of partner channels.

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