This topical event explored the dramatic events of the Arab Spring, the motivations behind it and the impact of these events on communities of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds in the UK and more specifically in Birmingham. The distinguished panel consisted of Richard Burden MP, London-based Turkish analyst and writer Ziya Meral, and Professor Alpaslan Ozerdem of Coventry University’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies. They drew on observations gathered in countries involved in the Arab Spring and on recent experiences and conversations in Birmingham. During a lively Q&A session audience members put forward a variety of questions and comments.
Biography of Richard Burden MP
He is the member of parliament for Birmingham Northfield 1992-present, for Birmingham, Northfield (revised boundary) since 6 May 2010. His parliamentary career is consisted of being PPS to Jeffrey Rooker: as Minister of State and Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1997-99, as Minister of State, Department of Social Security 1999-2001; Adviser on motor sports to Richard Caborn, as Minister of State for Sport 2002-07. He is the member of select committees as follows: Trade and Industry 2001-05, International Development 2005-, Quadripartite (Committees on Strategic Export Controls)/Arms Export Controls 2006-; Chair: West Midlands 2009-10. His political interests are comprised of but not limited to industrial policy – especially motor and motorsport industries, poverty, health, constitution, electoral reform, regeneration, regional government, international development, community empowerment.
Biography of Ziya Meral
He is a London-based Turkish analyst, researcher and writer. He is an expert on Turkey, Middle East, human rights and religious freedom. He regularly gives talks and lectures in leading academic institutions and conferences. He spoke at briefings and events at the UK House of Commons and House of Lords and the U.S. Congress and Department of State. He is currently a Joseph Crapa Fellow at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)- a federal body that produces policy proposals for the US government, researching on prevention of ethno-religious violence. He is widely respected for his non-partisan analytical approach to complicated issues and ability to combine academic thinking with real life policy proposals.
Biography of Prof Alpaslan Ozerdem
Prof Ozerdem completed his PhD in Post-War Recovery Studies in the University of York. He is currently working in the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies as the Chair in Peace-Building. A sample of his academic publications can be enumerated as “Child Soldiers: From Recruitment to Reintegration”, “Managing Emergencies and Crises: Continental Perspectives”, “Participatory Research Methodologies in Development and Post Disaster/Conflict Reconstruction”, “The ‘responsibility to protect’ in the context of natural disasters: another excuse for interventionism?”