The Arab awakening that began in 2011 is transforming the Middle East in ways that continue to surprise seasoned observers. As new political leaders and movements struggle for power and work to shape the region’s future, one thing is clear: public opinion is more consequential now than it has arguably ever been. How Arabs view themselves and the world around them will have enormous consequences for the region and the larger international community in the years ahead. How are changes in Arab public opinion shaping the changes occurring across the region? Have the U.S. and its allies done enough to understand and support the voices of Arabs seeking greater representation and opportunity?
On May 21, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, as part of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, hosted the launch of The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East (Basic Books, 2013), the latest book by Nonresident Senior Fellow Shibley Telhami. Kim Ghattas, BBC’s State Department correspondent, engaged Dr. Telhami in a discussion of the book and the issues it raises. Martin Indyk, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks.