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The 2005 Series: The Crisis of Governance and Legitimacy

Momentous political processes are unfolding in the major states of the Gulf, but in different stages and driven by different factors in each. In Saudi Arabia, an embryonic effort to introduce popular representation is underway, fraught with multiple signals and actions from the royal family and religious authorities. The effort to bring democratic processes to Iraq is beleaguered by the scale of violence, occupation by foreign troops and authorities, and ethnic and religious factionalism. In Iran, parliamentary democracy and reform have been set back by the intervention of religious authorities, while an international crisis about nuclear development is unfolding. Each of these cases, however different in many ways, constitute serious problems governance that significantly revolve around political legitimacy.

The workshops were enriched by the participation of an informal faculty advisory group, led by Stephen Van Evera (CIS and MIT Department of Political Science), and including Ambassador Barbara Bodine (Harvard), Augustus Richard Norton (Boston University), and Ali Banuazizi (Boston College). CIS Executive Director John Tirman organized the project. Nichole Argo (MIT) served as rapporteur. Some who could not attend (denoted with an asterisk) are advising the project. The Persian Gulf Initiative is supported with a generous gift from an MIT family.


Saudi Arabia: Legitimacy and Stability
April 6-7, 2005

Iraq: State Formation amid Violence
April 27, 2005

Iran: Governance and Nuclear Development
May 4-5, 2005



Massachusetts Institute of Technology