This book investigates the power of civil society in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in the context of the post-Arab Spring era, as well as more long-standing challenges and constraints in the region. In recent years, local civil society actors have faced significant challenges from social conservatism, conflict, violence, and the absence of democracy and exclusive political systems. Over the course of the book, the authors investigate how the sector has succeeded in achieving its own objectives despite these shifting conditions, the restrictive political environment and the complexity of the socio-cultural and economic context.

Structured around the three themes of peace-building, development, and change, the book also addresses challenges faced by civil society organizations linked to ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversities as well as religious salient differences that are crucial markers of social and political identity. Case studies are drawn from the Palestinian Occupied Territories, Jordan, Iran, Nigeria, Niger, Egypt, and Morocco, and particular effort has been made to showcase original research from contributors who are from the region .

This book will be of particular interest to researchers working on development, peace-building, conflict resolution, civil society, and politics within the MENA region.

chapter 1|12 pages


chapter 2|11 pages

Introducing civil society

chapter 3|15 pages

The power of civil society

Young leaders’ engagement in non-violent actions

chapter 4|19 pages

Challenges confronting religious civil society in peace-building

What lessons can Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries learn from Nigeria?

chapter 5|18 pages

Social entrepreneurship, civil society, and foreign aid in Jordan

Addressing issues of self-sustainability and continuity

chapter 6|21 pages

Moroccan civil society after the 2011 constitutional reforms

The case of the women’s movement

chapter 11|7 pages