About ARD

Flags against a brick wall

About the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy

The Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD) at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University examines the different social and political dynamics within Arab countries and the evolution of their political systems, focusing on the prospects, conditions and possible pathways for democratic reform in the region.

This multidisciplinary program brings together both scholars and practitioners — from the policymaking, civil society, NGO (non-government organization), media, and political communities — as well as other actors of diverse backgrounds from the Arab world, to consider how democratization and more responsive and accountable governance might be achieved, as a general challenge for the region and within specific Arab countries. ARD’s work also promotes critical discussions around questions of political change, social and economic rights, power and resistance in the countries of the Arab world.

The program aims to be a hub for intellectual capital about issues related to good governance and political reform in the Arab world, producing rigorous and innovative academic research grounded in hands-on work in the Arab world and allowing diverse opinions and voices to be heard. It benefits from the rich input of the academic community at Stanford, from faculty and researchers to graduate students, as well as partners in the Arab world and Europe. 

In line with the mission of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule in which it is housed, ARD produces in-depth, policy-relevant research.

Specific program activities include:

  • Multidisciplinary research: The program engages in policy-relevant, multidisciplinary research on several aspects of reform and democracy in the Arab world. 
  • Workshops and Seminars: The program hosts a series of seminars, conferences, and workshops, often in collaboration with partners at Stanford and elsewhere, as well as events in the Arab world. At the ARD Speaker Series, scholars from across disciplines are invited to present new, innovative research that sheds light on the nuances of ongoing, salient developments and trends in the Arab world, while situating them in a rich historical context.
  • Publications: The program actively publishes working papers, journal articles and edited books.