The seventh Annual Conference on Democratic Transition, External Factors and the post-2011 Democratic Transition in the Arab Region began on Friday, 21 September 2018, in the Tunisian city of Hammamet. The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies organized the meeting in participation with many scholars hailing from wide range of disciplines, dedicating this session to the role of regional and international factors in the democratic transition experiences following the Arab revolutions of 2011. Additionally the conference aims to fill a research gap by documenting different aspects of this external influence and its implications for the democratic transition process in the Arab countries.

In his keynote speech, Dr. Mehdi Mabrouk, director of the Tunisia branch of ACRPS, pointed out that the academic question concerning what happened during the Arab Spring has narrowed, while the gap between the two extremes in the subject has widened. In one corner is the foreign conspiracy camp, facing the grassroots camp in the other. The question needs to be re-addressed in order to identify objective and accurate explanations of how the Arab revolutions unfolded. Conference coordinator, Dr. Abdel-Fattah Mady, stressed in his own keynote speech the importance of investigating regional and international roles in the post-2011 paths of transition. He also pointed out this conference demonstrated many challenges that justify a new research agenda with further analysis of the topic.