Faculty Advisor

O'Neil, Patrick

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2013


The Arab Spring brought hope of a democratic Middle East to many in the international community. While the literature on democratic transitions includes an array of components, scholars on the region have concentrated on institutional developments such as elections and constitutions. While these structural components are essential, this paper advocates for citizenship education as another crucial element in democratic transitions. Although not typically part of this literature, citizenship education entails building an informed and active populace able to contribute to a total culture of democracy. This paper analyzes these pedagogic efforts in transitional Egypt by contrasting the State’s role in citizenship education with that of the third sector. This contrast leads to the conclusion that an emphasis on the third sector is necessary for carrying out the goals of citizenship education apolitically. Egypt’s school system is not only the most robust in the Arab world, but has historically been utilized by different authoritarian regimes to advance political goals. When juxtaposed with the emergence an abundance of NGOs after the 2011 Revolution, it becomes an ideal case study. Analysis is based on research of the Egyptian education system, theories of citizenship education, and is supplemented with personal interviews in the country.


University of Puget Sound