2012 Conference: The Arab Spring: Implications and Opportunities For Canada

Arab Spring


About the Conference

Fast-moving events in the Middle East and North Africa present Canada with a series of challenges and opportunities. Canada needs to respond in ways that reflect Canadian interests, but how we define those is a function of a thoughtful understanding of events in the region – which means looking beyond a Western lens.

Couchiching’s 2012 summer conference challenged Western assumptions, provided context and understanding of the region’s complexities, and of the uprisings, their meaning, and their future. Most particularly, it explored what they mean for Canada.  Conference participants discovered what captured the imagination of the Arab world and the world at large, and that continues to enthral and “frighten” some? Panelists identified particular challenges and opportunities for Canada in terms of its foreign policy, its economic potential, its refugees and diasporas, and its military obligations.

The beauty of Couchiching is that it is not a think-tank: we do not come to conclusions, nor do we make recommendations. The Conference is a unique forum for open, non-partisan discussion about the significant issues of the day. The vigorous, thoughtful, sometimes controversial, yet always respectful debate by the lake helps policymakers, business people, students, social activists, the media, and interested members of the public achieve more informed, and therefore more useful, views and opinions – and they leave better-armed to make decisions that affect themselves, their organizations, their communities – and our country. 


About Image:

Photo by David Degner February 11, 2011, Alexandria, Egypt. Public jubilation erupts nation-wide after the announcement of Hosni Mubarak's decision to step down as President of Egypt following 18 days of public uprising.  Photo featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on February 11, 2011 and as the cover shot for "We are Egypt - The Story Behind the Revolution", directed by Lillie Paquette who spoke at the Summer Conference.

2016 Summer Conference

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Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

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