Event Detail


The Islamic World: Godless and Leaderless Revolutions?

Canon Alistair MacdonaldRadcliff
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Hong Kong Club
A talk by one of the worlds leading experts on the Middle East on the current and future situation in this complex region.

Drinks 6.30 pm (cash bar) Lecture 7.30 pm

RGS HK Members HK$100 Nonmembers and Guests HK$150

The Rev Canon Alistair MacdonaldRadcliff lectures on “The Islamic World: Godless and Leaderless Revolutions?". In this lecture, one of the world’s leading experts on the Middle East and North Africa considers if the events of the last few months are the end of history as the world knows it in the Middle East and what the future holds for the region.

The recent revolutionary events sweeping across the Middle East are clearly of enormous significance and are being compared worldwide with other momentous periods of sudden change such as the events of the 1848 European Revolutions, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Empire. However, it is far from clear whether the current upheavals will lead to the triumph of any kind of liberal democracy, the often stated objective of objectors to the current regimes.

While Canon MacdonaldRadcliff accepts the truism that the only certainty is that no one really knows what is going to happen, he argues that important clues lie in the past and in exploring the factors that precipitated this sudden process of change. Just as in the European Revolutions of 1848, which ultimately affected some 50 countries, the immediate and the long term consequences may well prove very different from the objectives.

He raises many questions that require attention. What were some of the key demographic social and economic factors involved? Why did this happen now? What is the real role of the much discussed social media in facilitating apparently leaderless change? What has happened to the religious dimension given that there seemed, in the eyes of the Western media in particular, to be a strong liberal and secular dimension to the revolutions? Is it only governments that are ruthless that are vulnerable to popular movements of change? What is the future role of the religious dimension, given that religion has been very notable for its seeming absence in what might be called the first wave of the current revolutions? Where is the missing element of traditional leaders?

For this lecture, Canon MacdonaldRadcliff focuses on Egypt in particular and cautions against any speedy conclusions. He argues that the outcomes may be multiple and varied across the region and that key social, economic and ideological, as well as religious, factors will, however, remain central in shaping the long term outcomes.

The Rev Canon Alistair MacdonaldRadcliff is Director General of the C1 World Dialogue which seeks to promote improved relations between the worlds of Islam and the West. The C1 is Cochaired by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa and Cardinal McCarrick of Washington and has Tony Blair as President of its General Conference. Canon MacdonaldRadcliff is also a Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum and its Council of 100 Leaders’ WestIslamic Dialogue. He was formerly Dean of All Saints’ Cathedral in Cairo where he remains international advisor to Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Canon Alistair MacdonaldRadcliff has also been a Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington DC.

Canon MacdonaldRadcliff was educated at London and Oxford Universities, where he read Philosophical Theology and he also lectured on the Philosophy of Religion. He also holds a degree in International Relations from Yale where he served as a Research Fellow. He has undertaken extensive international work for the worldwide Anglican Church, including innumerable lectures internationally. Canon MacdonaldRadcliff also serves as special advisor to Lord Carey of Clifton, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury.

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