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March 18: Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon Humanities Center Lecture Challenges Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Social and Political Change

Contact:

Shilo Raube                
412-268-6094        
sraube@andrew.cmu.edu

Media Advisory:
Carnegie Mellon Humanities Center Lecture Challenges
Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Social and Political Change

Event: The fifth lecture of Carnegie Mellon University's 2009-10 Humanities Center Lecture Series on "Global Connections, Global Responsibilities" challenges the role non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play in changing social and political situations. Maha Abdel-Rahman, university lecturer in developmental studies at the University of Cambridge's Centre of International Studies, will speak on "NGOs, Civil Society and Human Rights in Egypt and the Middle East."

Abdel-Rahman, an expert in political Islam, Middle Eastern opposition, and social movements and nationalism, will discuss how since 1980, civil society came to rely on NGOs to advance failed state-led economic and political development projects. Particularly in the Middle East, NGOs were further entrusted with the goal of challenging the authoritarian regimes and ushering in a new era of democratization. She will question assumptions about the potential role of NGOs as vehicles for social and political transformation and identify inherent structural weaknesses of these organizations. She also will critically examine the space of civil society as a whole, especially with regard to questions of accountability, financial dependence, lack of mass support, and NGOs' tendency to reproduce authoritarian tendencies in society.

The lecture series, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon's Humanities Center, the Center for the Advancement of Applied Ethics and Political Philosophy, and the Global Studies Program, focuses on the gap between affluent and economically challenged countries and their influence on one another. The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.hss.cmu.edu/humanitiescenter/.

When: 4:30-6 p.m., Thursday, March 25. Reception to follow.

Where: Gregg Hall (Porter Hall 100), Baker Hall, Carnegie Mellon University.

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