PhD Proposal Summary #cliffnotes #overview #nothappeninganytimesoon

Below is a summary of one of the many PhD proposals I submitted to various universities internationally. While I was able to get into more than 15 very competitive unis, I couldn’t secure even the slightest amount of funding from any of them. It’s been three years now and I don’t seem to be any closer to getting that funding. I have contemplated switching my topic and applying again, but I may have to hold off on it since my topic being accepted hasn’t been of issue, rather funding has been my main issue. However, enough time has passed that parts of my research are irrelevant and other parts are no longer original since it has been encompassed in other researcher’s findings. The more time that goes by, the less my specific lens in regards to the topic is original or new. And therein lies the dilemma.

Anyways, here is a snapshot of one of my proposals. My other proposals are variations of the same topic. As you may know, every university has different proposal requirements. Some want a 15 page proposal, some want a 5 page proposal. Others want a full literature review, while others look down on what they deem “name dropping.” Here is just one of the many variations of proposals I have saved.

Enjoy…

Project Overview

Research Title: Transnational Contemporary Palestinian Music: Transnational Palestinian Identity Formation, Palestinian Experience and its Role in Israeli Affairs

Palestinian contemporary music, particularly Palestinian hip-hop, which is very popular amongst Palestinian youth, acts as a medium for the Palestinian experience. Palestinian musicians voice their experiences and identity through their lyrics and this music acts as a medium to explore transnational Palestinian identity formation in the US and UK, seeing as this music is consumed globally by the Palestinian diaspora. [1] This research intends to study the role of Palestinian contemporary music in formulating a transnational Palestinian identity, how this transnational identity creates a new vision of Palestinian citizenship or activism and how this transnational identity and Palestinian citizenship influences Israel’s international relations.

Project Scope

The case study for this research is contemporary Palestinian music and its role in identity expression and formation, drawing a parallel between Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities concept that print capitalism brought the rise of the nationalism,[2] in turn globalisation’s role in transnational music distribution brought the rise of a transnational Palestinian identity. This research will assess in detail how this identity formed and what role this identity plays in their political activism concerning Israeli domestic and foreign relations. This will be achieved by researching the Palestinian community’s interactions with music and political opportunity structures in their home country’s, as well as Israel.

The members of DAM, a prominent Arab hip-hop group, come from Al-Lid, Israel, although they very strongly identify themselves as Palestinian in their lyrics. DAMs closing lyrics to their song, Stranger in My Country, illustrate their multi-layered identity. And our Arabian roots are still strong. But still our Arabian brothers are calling us renegades. No. We never sold our country. The occupation has written our destiny. Which is, that the whole world till today is treating us as Israelis. And Israel till tomorrow will treat us as Palestinians. I’m a stranger in my own country.” [3]

The lyrics of DAMs, Stranger in my Country, express feelings felt by Palestinian citizens of Israel. DAMs lyrics act as a form of communication to Palestinians living in other regions, serving as a form of news to these regions that otherwise may be unaware of what Palestinians in Israel experience. This leaves the Palestinian listeners with their own experiences that form their identity, in addition to the connection they have formed with other Palestinian experiences that influence their experience hereon in, and take part in shaping their identity. This hybrid identity then influences the state of Palestinian citizenship, affecting actions taken by Palestinians, political affiliations and civic duties, creating a transnational Palestinian citizenship.

Project Empirical and Methodological Overview

This project will assess why and how the Palestinian diaspora interacts with contemporary Palestinian music, embracing Palestinian identity or eschewing the community they live in as a form of political participation by using a postmodernist theory of methodology,[4] linking the use of music with political activism amongst Palestinians in the diaspora.[5] It will focus on organisational development of politically active groups on the macro, meso and micro levels, as well as diaspora Palestinian political inspirations found in Palestinian contemporary music. This project will garner empirical data through interviews with Palestinian music listeners and political activists, in order to build a comprehensive overview of how Palestinian lyrics and music can influence its listeners to form a transnational community that acts in benefit of a nation it does not live in. I also plan to translate and analyze Palestinian song lyrics and compare these lyrics to news reports that report socio-political circumstances of Palestinians. Attending conferences or concerts in which Palestinian musicians perform will give me better access to interview Palestinian contemporary music listeners. These interviews plan to get a better understanding of how Palestinians define their experiences, what constitutes a Palestinian identity, how connected they are to Palestinians in different regions, how they view Palestinian hip-hop and contemporary Palestinian music, as well as get a better idea of their political influences.

From the data collected, I will then seek to build a wider theoretical framework to analyse the Palestinian diaspora’s formulation of identity, how this identity is measured and the influence this identity has on Israeli foreign and domestic decision making. This research will build on the work of Usama Kahf, who researched Palestinian hip-hop and identity in Israel and its relation to the Palestinian political struggle;[6] Andy Bennett’s research that explored youth consumption of music and how this music is used to define the self;[7] Amal Jamal, who researched media’s use in cultural resistance, as well as Israeli media policies towards Palestinians;[8] and Bakari Kitwana’s research on rap music’s role in cultural movement and political power.[9]

A challenge arises as Palestinian hip-hop and other forms of contemporary Palestinian music is male dominatedHow does this dynamic play into identity formation amongst Palestinian women and does it have any impact on the political activism of Palestinian men or women?

Timeline

This research is expected to take up to three years as follows:

  • September 2015 January 2016Preliminary research, survey of literature and interpretive models.
  • February 2016 December 2016 Fieldwork, interviews and data collection.
  • January 2017 March 2017 Collate data and assess an interpretive model.
  • April 2017 September 2017 Development and presentation of preliminary findings and analysis.
  • October 2017 January 2018 First draft.
  • February 2018 October 2018 Final write up.

Project Aims and Objectives

This study will act as a vehicle case study for critiquing current research approaches to identity formation through music and its influence on international relations. It will be designed to challenge the paradigm that views transnational musical identity formation as insignificant in the face of international relations. This research is important because it fills existing empirical and theoretical gaps. Empirically, there is very little research on contemporary music’s role on the formulation of a transnational identity that leads to a politically active community that is capable of enacting change on an international level. There is also limited understanding of the Palestinian diaspora’s political aspirations and even less understanding of Israel’s interaction with Palestinian musical messages. This research looks to conduct thorough empirical research, particularly through interviews, observational data collection, quantitative monitoring of Palestinian music consumption amongst the diaspora. It will also involve an in depth analysis of contemporary Palestinian music’s lyrics, the messages intended in the music, as well as researching the connection between Israeli political relations and music.

Theoretically, this research will explore the limitations set forth by not incorporating an interdisciplinary approach to the subject of transnational musical identity’s influence on international relations and political activism. This research will utilise data to create an extended postmodernist framework to assess motivations for political activism in the diaspora and how much of that political activism is due to their Palestinian identity that was formed in part by Palestinian contemporary music.

Reasons for the Research

Recent social-political movements, such as the divestment campaigns led by Palestinian activists in the diaspora, and these movements links to transnational Palestinian identity, demonstrates the needs to understand the influence of transnational Palestinian music on this community. This research serves the purpose of better defining the Palestinian identity and what is means to be Palestinian,[10] as well as how contemporary Palestinian music has influenced this process. Once a better understanding of Palestinian identity is established, a better understanding of their experiences, their needs, desires, hopes and political aspirations as a collective can be recognised. As Palestinian youth become more influential in their societies, their shared transnational experiences and identity will shed insight onto the socio-political future of Palestinians and Israelis.    

Works Cited

1. P. Katzenstein, The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, (Columbia University Press, 1996 ).

2. Bennett, Andy. Popular Music and Youth Culture: Music, Identity, and Place. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2000. Print.

3. DAM. Stranger in My Own Country. 2007. MP3.

4. Keri E. Iyall Smith and Patricia Leavy (eds.), Hybrid Identities,  (Haymarket Books 2009), 267.

5. Jamal, Amaney and Nadine Naber, Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11: From Invisible Citizens to Visible Subjects , (Syracuse University Press, 2008).

6. Kahf, Usama. “Arabic Hip-Hop: Claims of Authenticity and Identity of a New Genre.”That’s the Joint!: The Hip-hop Studies Reader. By Murray Forman and Mark Anthony. Neal. New York: Routledge, 2012. N. pag. Print.

7. Bennett, Andy. Popular Music and Youth Culture: Music, Identity, and Place. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2000. Print.

8. Jamal, Amal. The Arab Public Sphere in Israel: Media Space and Cultural Resistance. P. 23-24, Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2009. Print.

9. Kitwana, Bakari. That’s the Joint!: The Hip-hop Studies Reader. Ed. Mark Anthony. Neal and Murray Forman. New York: Routledge, 2012. N. pag. Print.

10. Darcy Zabel, Arabs in the Americas: Interdisciplinary Essays on the Arab Diaspora, (Peter Lang Publishing, 2006), 35-39.

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Editor For Hire #editing #writer #editor #writing

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What I Learned From Criminal Minds #bingewatching #criminalminds

So I recently finished up my binge watching of Criminal Minds. Yup, that’s right. I have watched every single episode to date of 11 seasons. And here is what I learned from it all:

  1. Don’t be mean to people because they could be a serial killer.
  2. Don’t think in the box. Always think outside the box
  3. Don’t get into a box willingly
  4. Don’t google anything you don’t want Penelope Garcia to see.
  5. There is no such thing as secrecy.
  6. Don’t go anywhere near a gun shop
  7. Don’t go on vacation alone
  8. Don’t go on vacation with your family
  9. Don’t get involved with the mob, mafia or any other organized crime
  10. Don’t join a cult
  11. Don’t go skydiving
  12. Don’t hide from CCTV
  13. Don’t take LSD
  14. Don’t leave your drinks unattended
  15. Don’t take a taxi
  16. Don’t breathe in toxic or poisoned air
  17. Don’t join a killing pack
  18. Don’t get in strange cars
  19. Don’t trust anyone
  20. Don’t get married
  21. Don’t read fairy tales to your kids
  22. Don’t hire a hitman
  23. Don’t use public transportation
  24. Don’t reject anyone
  25. Don’t be a street artist
  26. Don’t join an experimental community
  27. Don’t use a ride-share service
  28. Don’t get kidnapped
  29. Don’t end a relationship
  30. Don’t leave your children unattended
  31. Don’t go to war
  32. Don’t get PTSD
  33. Don’t make personal connections
  34. Don’t get shot
  35. Don’t seek revenge
  36. Don’t auction children off
  37. Don’t avoid dealing with personal issues
  38. Don’t make decisions that will mess up your career
  39. Don’t answer your cell phone
  40. Don’t avoid answering your cell phone
  41. Don’t go to pep rallies
  42. Don’t make abrupt departures
  43. Don’t read science fiction
  44. Don’t be a prostitute
  45. Don’t get involved in politics
  46. Don’t piss off your supervisor
  47. Don’t question things
  48. Don’t discount multiple personality disorders
  49. Don’t prank Morgan or Reid
  50. Don’t question Reid’s knowledge
  51. Don’t torture people
  52. Don’t drug people
  53. Don’t kill people
  54. Don’t have a troubled childhood
  55. Don’t struggle
  56. Don’t become addicted to drugs
  57. Don’t become an alcoholic
  58. Don’t become homeless
  59. Don’t rape people
  60. Don’t be a radical environmentalist
  61. Don’t go hunting
  62. Don’t go to parties
  63. Don’t go camping
  64. Don’t go into the mountains
  65. Don’t go into the woods
  66. Don’t use religion as an excuse
  67. Don’t go to a small college
  68. Don’t go to a big college
  69. Don’t walk alone at night
  70. Don’t walk alone in the day
  71. Don’t go to public places
  72. Don’t be a vigilante
  73. Don’t dream
  74. Don’t join a gang
  75. Don’t commit crimes
  76. Don’t witness a crime
  77. Don’t impede a federal investigation
  78. Don’t boost your public image
  79. Don’t post everything on social media
  80. Don’t be vain
  81. Don’t empathise with suspects
  82. Don’t travel as a couple
  83. Don’t stay in a cabin
  84. Don’t live in the middle of nowhere
  85. Don’t own guns
  86. Don’t antagonize others
  87. Don’t be a police officer
  88. Don’t be an FBI Agent
  89. Don’t be blonde
  90. Don’t get into car accidents
  91. Don’t get in the way of road rage
  92. Don’t belittle others
  93. Don’t kidnap people
  94. Don’t hire a psychic
  95. Don’t be an over enthusiastic criminology student
  96. Don’t investigate crimes on your own
  97. Don’t talk to high class call-girls
  98. Don’t set fire to others
  99. Don’t go on spring break
  100. Don’t confront others
  101. Don’t be a woman
  102. Don’t come in contact with anthrax
  103. Don’t feed people to pigs
  104. Don’t perform medical experiments
  105. Don’t have a breakdown
  106. Don’t go to a pharmacy
  107. Don’t go to a bank
  108. Don’t trust a judge
  109. Don’t impregnate women unwillingly
  110. Don’t sell babies
  111. Don’t have an alter ego
  112. Don’t be a psycho
  113. Don’t be a soul sucking journalist
  114. Don’t have your home invaded
  115. Don’t escape custody
  116. Don’t go on a killing spree
  117. Don’t yell at others
  118. Don’t play an online choking game
  119. Don’t be a trigger
  120. Don’t spiral out of control
  121. Don’t be a con artist
  122. Don’t sell drugs
  123. Don’t be part of a pyramid scheme
  124. Don’t be a pillar in the community
  125. Don’t be a trucker
  126. Don’t have daddy issues
  127. Don’t have mommy issues
  128. Don’t illegally cross the border
  129. Don’t legally cross the border
  130. Don’t post videos online
  131. Don’t talk to anyone online
  132. Don’t meet people online
  133. Don’t stick around during a heatwave
  134. Don’t be taken hostage
  135. Don’t be racist
  136. Don’t be sexist
  137. Don’t be an accomplice
  138. Don’t mysteriously vanish
  139. Don’t make deals with others
  140. Don’t go out on Halloween
  141. Don’t tell anyone anything about you or your life
  142. Don’t order takeout delivery from the same restaurant repeatedly
  143. Don’t let anyone into your house
  144. Don’t have headaches
  145. Don’t ignore doctor’s orders
  146. Don’t be unusual
  147. Don’t hire a self-motivational coach
  148. Don’t act suspicious
  149. Don’t target victims
  150. Don’t fake your own death
  151. Don’t die
  152. Don’t have a secret life
  153. Don’t become injured
  154. Don’t trust anyone, ever
  155. Don’t let human traffickers know you are a cop
  156. Don’t trust human traffickers
  157. Don’t bully others
  158. Don’t take credit for someone else’s work
  159. Don’t get a brain injury
  160. Don’t go to a lake
  161. Don’t send your kids to a military academy
  162. Don’t join the boxing scene
  163. Don’t join an underground fighting ring
  164. Don’t imitate the Zodiac killer
  165. Don’t romanticize killers
  166. Don’t snub old friends
  167. Don’t play the piano
  168. Don’t gamble
  169. Don’t be superstitious
  170. Don’t be too friendly
  171. Don’t fail
  172. Don’t wander the desert
  173. Don’t sleep
  174. Don’t stop at rest stops
  175. Don’t worship the devil
  176. Don’t purchase real estate
  177. Don’t be a real estate agent
  178. Don’t lie
  179. Don’t test others
  180. Don’t have a phone
  181. Don’t kill animals
  182. Don’t be a student
  183. Don’t meet face-to-face
  184. Don’t replicate crimes
  185. Don’t have an identity crisis
  186. Don’t fall in love
  187. Don’t be a pedophile
  188. Don’t be a nanny
  189. Don’t overdose on E
  190. Don’t go for a run
  191. Don’t do step aerobics in your house
  192. Don’t take away your kid’s dolls
  193. Don’t be an awful parent
  194. Don’t emulate movies
  195. Don’t become estranged from others
  196. Don’t get too close to others
  197. Don’t be violent
  198. Don’t believe in segregation
  199. Don’t be a bigot
  200. Don’t be a homophobe
  201. Don’t retire
  202. Don’t work
  203. Don’t become unemployed
  204. Don’t go on secret missions
  205. Don’t go to therapy
  206. Don’t avoid going to therapy
  207. Don’t hire a babysitter
  208. Don’t be a babysitter
  209. Don’t engage in family feuds
  210. Don’t obsess over Greek mythology
  211. Don’t get shot
  212. Don’t engage in crossfire
  213. Don’t steal
  214. Don’t suffer a family tragedy
  215. Don’t be delusional
  216. Don’t suffer from an obsessive skin disorder
  217. Don’t suppress feelings
  218. Don’t be a highly-regarded attorney
  219. Don’t have uncontrollable urges
  220. Don’t be a loner
  221. Don’t be anti-social
  222. Don’t be charismatic
  223. Don’t be confident
  224. Don’t be insecure
  225. Don’t commemorate anniversaries
  226. Don’t ignore anniversaries
  227. Don’t build a bomb
  228. Don’t abuse others
  229. Don’t talk to inmates
  230. Don’t ignore inmates
  231. Don’t make political enemies
  232. Don’t respond to others
  233. Don’t avoid responding to others
  234. Don’t uncover secrets
  235. Don’t control people’s minds
  236. Don’t believe in monsters
  237. Don’t be a teenager
  238. Don’t be a kid
  239. Don’t be an adult
  240. Don’t be in the wrong place at the right time
  241. Don’t leave the house
  242. Don’t stay at home
  243. Don’t think about anything
  244. Don’t even think about thinking about anything
  245. Just don’t

Really… Don’t! Everyone, everywhere is a serial killer, mass murderer, rapist or pedophile.

That’s what I learned.

 

Would you ever consider living abroad?

Would you ever consider living abroad?

I have lived abroad. It’s always great to see how other people live. It’s the best way to experience culture, history, food and language.

Most of the place I’ve lived, I’ve lived there because i was taking a class, doing a semester abroad or doing research.

And here goes the list:

Amman

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Geneva

EU-Bucketlist-Cover-Photo

Oxford

Oxford...City-of-Ford

Haifa

49brlht

West Bank

israeli-barrier-west-bank

Exeter

f5d5f9e2cdb8526e8005ebd161ec5bc3

And I can only hope to add to this list… Send me some positive travel vibes my Pistachios!

 

Peace and Pistachios,

Heba

xoxo

 

 

Who was the last person you ate dinner with?

Who was the last person you ate dinner with?

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Family meals are such a funny thing these days. As a kid we always ate dinner together as a family. We also had a family brunch every Saturday and Sunday. As we got older and people’s schedules became more hectic things changed and fluctuated, but we managed to still have a family dinner more nights than not.

These days, I suppose it all depends on what mood everyone is in and what each of us is up to. Sometimes we all eat together. Other times we all eat separately. Somedays a couple of us eat together why the other one does their thing.

I don’t really know people, particularly young adults, who have regular family dinners anymore. I can see why parents get so emotional when their kids go to university. Once the kids leave for college, the chances of having regular family meals, even after leaving university, go down significantly.

Dissecting Orientalism

As noted by Anderson, Tessler and Halliday, regional studies are essential to the social sciences because they make broader analytical frameworks pertinent to the areas they comprise. Halliday brings forward his thoughts on the impact of Orientalism on the social sciences and makes several concerning points about the Orientalist debate.

Edward Said considered one aspect of Orientalism to be a certain depiction of the Middle East and East Asian cultures, that portrayed the East as backwards, exotic, uncivilized and in need of rescue.

“Orientalism provided a rationalization for European colonialism based on a self-serving history in which “the West” constructed “the East,” yet in Halliday’s critique, he refers to Arabs as one entity. This fails to address the non- Arab population living in the Arab nations. Before the modern Arab world existed there were a multitude of different cultures and languages spoken in the Middle East and North Africa region. As of recent statistics, there are more than 300 million Arabs in the MENA region, this number, however, includes the many ethnic minorities that do exist in the area, including the Kurds, Armenians, Aramaeans, Chaldeans, Turkmens, Cherkess, Turks, Zangians, Nubians, Berbers, Banyans, Haratins, Gnawas, Tauregs, Chechens, Romanis, Ajamis, Moors and Assyrians.[1] Halliday fails to address the demographics of people who were Arabized, such as the Berbers, as Berber languages were seen as inferior to Arabic. [2,3, 4] Just as the West orientalized the East to justify their colonialism, in turn the Arabs Arabized the Berber population as they too were and are capable of orientalist-like beliefs. Haliday’s failure to address this flaw and label of “Arab” is in a sense an orientalist belief because he has grouped different cultures together under one label.

Another concerning point unaddressed by Halliday was the effect Orientalism had on MENA academics, researchers, journalists and writers, as well as what happens when these people serve an Orientalist agenda. For example, Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese poet, translator and the creator of the Jasad quarterly magazine. She is also the editor of the cultural pages of the Al-Nahar daily paper. In her book I Killed Schehrezade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman, she attempts to debunk stereotypes of Arab women in the West, yet she also enhances the eroticization and orientalization of Arab women in her magazine’s erotic portrayals. She aims to show that the “typical image of Arab women is not all wrong, but rather incomplete,” but her argument and actions found throughout the book leads the reader to believe that she herself believes Arab women are oppressed.[5] She orientalizes herself by grouping Arabs with Muslims together, as not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs.

While Halliday, Tessler and Anderson addressed many issues faced by academics studying the Middle East, their concerns seemed self-centred and short-sighted, seeing as little focus was given as to how their research can influence ideologies held by MENA researchers and politicians, as well as affect the lives of the people living in the regions they study.

[1] The Islamic Human Rights Commission. “IHRC – Minorities in the Arab World.” Islamic Human Rights Commision (IHRC). 27 Jan. 2004. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=989&gt;.

 

[2] Weiss, Bernard G. and Green, Arnold H.(1987) A Survey of Arab History. American University in Cairo

Press, Cairo, p. 129.

 

[3] Harich, N., E. Esteban, A. López-Alomar, P. Moral, A. Chafik, and G. Vona. “Classical Polymorphisms in Berbers from Moyen Atlas (Morocco): Genetics, Geography, and Historical Evidence in the Mediterranean Peoples.” Annals of Human Biology 29.5 (2002): 473-87. Print.
[4] BBC NEWS. “Africa | Q&A: The Berbers.” BBC News – Home. 12 Mar. 2004. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3509799.stm&gt;.

 

[5] Haddad, Joumana. I Killed Scheherazade Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman. P. 31. Lawrence Hill, 2011. Print.

Learn More, Study Less: The Video Course

Click Here!

LEARN MORE, STUDY LESS: THE VIDEO COURSE

Here’s what you’ll be getting when you sign up for Learn More, Study Less: The Video Course:

  1. The complete 228-page edition of Learn More, Study Less.
  2. Six worksheets to take you from theory to practice in implementing the ideas.
  3. The 38-page Case-Study Manual. In this manual, I take a step-by-step look at how six different learners successfully applied the ideas, including:
    • How one student went from failing in chemistry and mathematics to scoring 85% using just one technique in the guide.
    • Another learner used the tactics to ace a professional designation exam while studying a month less than normally needed for the course.
    • One student who experienced a 75% reduction in his studying time, while actually scoring better grades.
  4. Three expert audio interviews with accompanying notes, which include advice from:
    • Benny, an octolingual polyglot, who recently became fluent in German in just three months.
    • Liam, a teacher and tutoring company owner who himself went from B’s and C’s to straight A+’s, sharing how any student can turn around their grades.
    • Kalid, founder Better Explained.com, sharing how he’s able to create intuitive, obvious explanations for advanced mathematics and science classes.
  5. The full 12 class modules in the video course, showing you how to:
    • Speed read
    • Remember vocabulary words with amazing accuracy (and far less time) than by rote
    • Set up a killer productivity system to nuke your procrastination
    • Study for exams holistically (and how I’ve aced university finals with no studying)
    • Use mental pictures to “get” hard math, physics or chemistry concepts the first time
    • Dissect a course, to know exactly which tactics to use to ace the class
    • Set goals you’ll actually achieve
    • Handle a crisis before an upcoming exam
    • Create metaphors easily, to understand ideas faster
    • Take flow-based notes, so you learn in less time
    • Learn more and study less with 6 hours of step-by-step instruction

http://f98555l06qfu3scolw0o111v2t.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=STUDY

Executive Summary Sample

Executive Summary for the Week of 16/5/2012 – 23/5/2012

Egypt: Elections

All of the Think Tanks summarized below hold very different viewpoints concerning the same issue, the Egyptian elections; although, there are some statements that hold true throughout all of the think tanks. All believe that this is a very important time for Egypt and that the outcome of this election is very detrimental, possibly even predictive of the future of Egypt. The pieces primarily examine parliament and the role of the Islamists in Egypt. The Brookings Institution conducted a poll that is telling of what Egyptians want and see in their future, which shown alongside the Gallup poll can be disconcerting. The Gallup poll shows a more pessimistic view of the current political climate, whereas The Brookings Institution is more optimistic, this however can be attributed to the types of questions asked, as well as the depth of the questions. Both the Center for American Progress and Washington Institute for Near East Policy examined the role America can play in the transition process. The Center for American Progress, being more progressive, took a centrist approach to reinstating ties with the new Egyptian government; it was also the only report to provide more detailed background knowledge about the candidates. In contrast, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, under the guise of fostering stability, took a very American Exceptionalist approach to the elections, assuming the worst and even regretting the inability for the Obama administration to get involved. The second report from WINEP also indicates concern with the ability of Egyptians to monitor the elections for fairness and vote rigging. The Plofchan report from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, although not the first to talk about the Salafis and The Muslim Brotherhood, it was the first to chronicle, however briefly, the beginnings of the split between the two groups, as well as state some of the differences in beliefs amongst the two. Lastly, the Council on Foreign Relations report was the only report to put a face to a people, speaking of the obstacles Egypt may face and providing a more in depth look at what many Egyptians may be feeling.

Think Tank: Brookings Institution

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 21/5/2012

Author: Shibley Telhami

Type: Report

Title: What Do Egyptians Want? Key Findings from the Egyptian Public Opinion Poll

Address: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2012/05/21-egyptian-election-poll-telhami

The Brookings Institution has conducted a poll surveying the Egyptian public about political preferences, leaders and regional issues, during May 4-10, 2012 in light of the first presidential election. The Brookings Institution places great emphasis on the importance of the inaccuracies of probable predictions, as there is no analytical model of voting behaviour as of yet. Egyptian voters have also shown a difference in criteria by which they judge parliamentary and presidential candidates.

Poll Results:

  • Abul-Fotouh led the polls with 32%, followed by Mousa (28%) then Shafiq (14%), Morsi and Sabahi at (8%).
  • In parliamentary elections, 24% a favoured political party determined their vote, whereas in presidential elections, personal trust is a determining factor for 31%.
  • Christians supported Mousa the most, with 43%, as well as voters outside of cities with 31% of the vote.
  • Abul-Fotouh led among university graduates with 35% and among youth, under age 25, with 36%.
  • 54% believe Turkey to be the model reflection in terms of Islam in politics, followed by Saudi Arabia with 32%
  • A majority of those polled hold very unfavourable views of the U.S., with 68% and 73% support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.
  • 66% of Egyptians support Sharia as the basis of Egyptian law, but 83% believe Sharia should be adapted to modern times.
  • A majority of Egyptians admired the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, with 63%. When asked to include Egyptian leaders, Erdogan fell to 15%, with Sadat at 35% and Abdel Nasser at 26%.
  • Brokering Middle East peace and establishing a Palestinian State ranked highest (66%) in regards improving U.S. favourability, followed by stopping military and economic aid to Israel as 46%.
  • While 55% believe there will be no lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, 46% would like to maintain the peace treaty with Israel and 44% would like to see it cancelled.
  • The two countries that pose the biggest nuclear threat are Israel (97%) and the U.S. (80%).
  • Egyptians have been in support of the rebels against Assad and the Syrian government, but only 18% wish to see external military interventions, 15% support a Turkish Arab military intervention and 43% wish to see no military intervention.

Think Tank: Center for American Progress

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 23/5/2012

Author: Brian Katulis

Type: Brief

Title: Previewing Egypt’s 2012 Presidential Elections

Address:  http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/05/egypt_elections.h tml/#1

This report by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank dedicated to public policy research, provides a brief description of Egypt’s first democratic presidential election since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, as well as recommendations for the American government to restore and reinforce ties with the new Egyptian government. In addition, the brief lists and describes the presidential candidates.

According to the report, it is believed that “no candidate will receive more than 50% of the vote,” which would lead to run-off elections in mid-June between the two top candidates. By June’s end a new president will be sworn in for a four-year term and military rulers will hand over power to the new government. However, the transition is still incomplete as a new constitution is to be written and their remains questions over:

  • The economy- Candidates have addressed unemployment and inflation, but have yet to address public-sector debt, the currency crisis, and energy and food subsidies.
  • Security, Law and Order- The drafting of the new constitution has been halted due to Egypt’s disunities over the identity of their new political system; ie. The role of Islam in the government and legislation.

The drafting of the constitution is set to take six-months to draft, although it could take longer to get approved and gain public support. The new constitution may also address a checks and balances system, as well as the role of parliament. The role Egypt is to take in the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional security is also a source of debate amongst the candidates.

The report suggests that the American government conduct a “major interagency review of its Egypt policy.” This review will prepare the U.S. administration for dialogue with the new Egyptian administration later this year. The dialogue should consist of:

  • A renegotiation of “basic terms of the relationship.”
  • Enhance bilateral relationship through common interests.
  • “Build a more stable foundation for U.S.-Egyptian bilateral ties.”

Results of these dialogues would redefine ties and include more parts of the Egyptian government that were not included in past years.

Egypt Presidential Candidate Profiles

  • Amr Moussa- He served under the Mubarak regime as Egypt’s Foreign minister, as well as the secretary general of the Arab League. His platform consists of a centrist political strategy. He has been labelled as a remnant of the Mubarak regime. He is known for his anti-Israel and America statements and has campaigned as the “alternative to Islamist candidates.”
  • Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh- His candidacy is opposed by the Muslim Brotherhood. He is an Islamist activist and “would implement Sharia as a formal legal code.” His platforms are “populist economics and “people first” economics.” He served on the Muslim Brotherhoods decision-making council for twenty-two years. He has the support of leaders from the Salafi Nour Party.
  • Ahmad Shafiq- He has served as prime minister, and air force commander under Mubarak, causing him speculation amongst “revolution minded voters.” His platform is to “restore law and order within 30 days of being elected.” Public perception of him has been negative. He is running as an “alternative to Islamist candidates. “
  • Hamdeen Sabbahi- He has nationalist ideologies, basing his campaign on criticism of the U.S. and Israel. He founded social and political organizations and worked as a journalist, in which he was arrested for his “public confrontation” with former President Sadat concerning “rising food prices.” He did not serve under the Mubarak regime and is not an Islamist. He has proposed an alliance with Iran and Turkey and severing ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia.
  • Muhammad Mursi- He is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Leader. He has served in Egypt’s Parliament and is the Brotherhood’s leading spokesman. He plans to amend the peace treaty with Israel “to create a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and have Israel recognize the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees.”

Think Tank: Council on Foreign Relations

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 21/5/2012

Author: Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh

Type: Expert Brief

Title: A New Presidential Authority in Egypt

Address: http://www.cfr.org/egypt/new-presidential-authority-egypt/p28308

This brief takes a more optimistic approach to the Egyptian elections, summarizing the possible obstacles for the newly elected official, obstacles pertaining to religion in politics, and while also providing a look at the voters’ demands and desire for dignity.

While Egypt has witnessed violence, protests and authority turnover in the last sixteen months, it has empowered Egyptians to take part in their political system. Current polls show “a clear majority of Egyptians continue to hold the military in high regard,” although not nearly as many Egyptians “support a military-dominated political system.” The SCAF has been contested by the public for the “Selmi principles,” granting “autonomy from elected civilian officials,” as well as for their “application of the State of Emergency.”

The Muslim Brotherhood votes are split between two candidates, Aboul Fotouh, who was expelled from the Brotherhood, and Morsi, who has been behind in the polls. Despite the parliament being a Brotherhood majority, the Brotherhood is not leading in the presidential polls, possibly due to a Brotherhood announcement against running in the presidential race, that was later followed by Morsi’s presidential bid.

Egyptians demand more accountability of politicians. Although economic strife “helped create an environment of misery,” in years prior to the uprising, “Egyptians were demanding freedom, justice, and dignity when they brought Hosni Mubarak down.”

One thing that may delay the transition process will be the role of Islam in politics. Within that lies the issue of whether the Salafis or the Islamists are to speak for Islam. It is anticipated that whomever wins the election must negotiate between different religious groups. If the organised labour parties can emerge in large-scale, they can be very influential in the economic and social policymaking.

Think Tank: Gallup World via The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 18/5/2012

Author: Mohamed Younis and Ahmed Younis

Type: Report

Title: Support for Islamists Declines as Egypt’s Election Nears

Address: http://www.gallup.com/poll/154706/Support-Islamists-Declines-Egypt-Election-Nears.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=World

According to the Gallup poll, spanning from July 2011 until April 2012 the Islamists have seen a steady increase, followed by a sharp decline in overall support as well as in the areas of prime minister appointment and constitution drafting.

  • July 2011 saw Muslim Brotherhood support at 17%, steadily increasing and peaking at 63% in February, then sharply declining to 42% in April.
  • In July 2011 Salafi support was at 5%, steadily increasing and peaking at 37% in February, then sharply declining to 25% in April.
  • The Nour Party saw 5% support in July, peaking at 40% in February and declining to 30% in April.
  • The Freedom and Justice Party saw 15% support in July, peaking at 67% in February and declining to 43% in April.
  • In February 2012, 62% of Egyptians felt comfortable with parliament writing the constitution, in April 2012 that percentage fell to 44.
  • In February 2012, 46% of Egyptians believed the party that wins the most seats in the parliament should appoint the prime ministers. Egyptians supporting the newly elected president appointing the prime minister next summer was 27%.
  • In April 2012, 27% of Egyptians believed the party that wins the most seats in the parliament should appoint the prime ministers. Egyptians supporting the newly elected president appointing the prime minister next summer was 44%.
  • In February 2012, 62% of Egyptians thought a parliament influenced by the Brotherhood was a good thing; 27% thought it was a bad thing.
  • In April 2012, 36% of Egyptians thought a parliament influenced by the Brotherhood was a good thing; 47% thought it was a bad thing.

This dissatisfaction can be attributed to the economic decline and bouts of violence. The transition has been twisted by power struggles within parliament, as opposed to reversing “financial decline and working to hold former regime members accountable.”

Think Tank: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 22/5/2012

Author: Eric Trager

Type: Policy Analysis

Title: Presidential Elections Will Not End Egyptian Instability

Address: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/presidential-elections-will-not-end-egyptian-instability

This WINEP analysis focuses on American interests within the Egyptian elections and states that given the economic situation of Egypt and the lack of clarity in the role of a new president, the elections will not provide stability in Egypt, but could further instability. Trager states that Sabahi is considered a favourite amongst expatriate voters, and while Mousa appears to be leading in the polls, there is no anticipated winner. With 75% of the parliament being Islamists, “ongoing instability has damaged the Islamists’ popularity and raised the profile of former regime candidates,” such as Shafiq, who has sought the votes of former Mubarak supporters.

The analysis concentrates on the shift from an American friendly regime to the current stance of the candidates that express anti-Western platforms, with the exception of Shafiq who is the only candidate who is not anti-Western or pro-Sharia. 

Fair elections will not likely cause stability as the parameters of the role of the newly elected president are undefined, as the new constitution has not been drafted. The proposals to allow the SCAF “to retain absolute powers in reviewing its internal affairs, including its budget,” and the ability of the president’s power to dissolve parliament, are likely to “ignite a severe confrontation between the military and the Islamists.”

The Obama administration has not declared support for any candidate. Washington should insist the SCAF conduct the elections fairly and to “follow a credible constitutional process,” otherwise mass protests could occur. Such protests could suppress stability restoration. Concerned that Islamists may play a role in an uprising against the SCAF, Washington should “use its $1.3 billion in military aid as leverage,” to ensure proper SCAF administration.

Think Tank: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 22/5/2012

Author: David Schenker

Type: Policy Analysis

Title: Egyptian Elections: Beyond Winning

Address: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/egyptian-elections-beyond-winning

This policy analysis of the Egyptian elections by WINEP, often criticised for being pro-Israel, discusses the credibility and speculation surrounding the actual voting process in Egypt. Concern is raised over an Islamist sweep within the new government, as Islamists are the majority of the new parliament. WINEP believes that regardless of the election process, a group of Egyptians may not accept the results if their candidate does not win.

Egyptians have been to the voting polls four times in fifteen months, causing concern that Egyptians may be losing their enthusiasm to vote. The constitutional referendum in March 2011 saw 41.2% of eligible voters vote, but Shura Council elections in January and February 2012 saw only 6.5% of voters in the first round and 12.2% voters in the second. About 54% of voters cast their ballots for the People’s Assembly elections. The high turn out rate is thought to be because some Egyptians believed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would fine them for not voting. The threat of SCAF imposing an “interim constitution” could discourage voters or encourage voters to vote.

The Carter Center, the only American based democracy promotion organisation currently in Egypt  “will not be allowed to observe any single polling station for more than thirty minutes.” Thousands of Egyptians have volunteered to monitor the polling stations.

WINEP believes that in the event Shafiq or Mousa win, there may be “claims of SCAF fraud,” accompanied by mass protests. The key to stabilizing Egypt is in the credibility of the voting process.

Think Tank: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Topic: Egyptian Elections

Date: 16/5/2012

Author: Thomas K. Plofchan III

Type: Report

Title: Egypt’s Islamists: A Growing Divide

Address: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/islamists/egypt’s-islamists-growing-divide

This report chronicles and examines the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi rivalry from the fall of Hosni Mubarak until more recently into the elections. The two organisations originally held similar positions on issues after the fall of Mubarak, although began to divide mid-2011.

Three Salafi organisations, The Nour Party, being the biggest, joined the Brotherhood led Democratic Alliance that soon dissolved afterwards. The Salafis then formed the Islamic Bloc that won approximately 27% of the parliament vote, despite political inexperience. “The Nour Party won 111 of the 508 parliamentary seats, making it the second largest part in the People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament.” The Brotherhood won 40% of the vote. Both parties have stated little interest in forming an Islamist alliance in the parliament.

The media has recently depicted the Brotherhood in a negative light due to entering the presidential candidacy after stating they wouldn’t. The Salafi party supports Aboul Fotouh, an expelled Brotherhood leader, while the Brotherhood’s Morsi is behind in the polls.

Salafis “oppose the use of alcohol and exposure of women’s bodies,” in regards to tourism standards; The Nour Party encourages cultural tourism contrasting to resort tourism and the Brotherhood “have distinguished between Egyptians and foreigners traveling in the country.” The biggest contrast deals with the role of Sharia in the new political system. The Brotherhood supports the principles of Sharia in legislation, whereas the Salafis support Sharia judgment.

Favorite age you’ve been so far?

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What was my favorite age to be? Hmm…

Well I enjoyed being 23. At that time, I was my healthiest, thinnest and most independent. I knew what I wanted and I went after it. I had some bad times that year, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been more resilient. Despite the rough times, I felt like I had all the world’s possibilities at my fingertips.

21, 24, 25 and 27 weren’t so bad either. Something all four of these years have in common was that I was studying in university during these years. I had an active social life and friends. I was involved and probably over involved. I’m my happiest when I’m busy.

This is what I need. I need to recreate these years and reclaim my drive and motivation to get things done. But how?

Certainly something to ponder.

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