Egyptian activists made history in February 2011 when they overturned a thirty-year dictatorship, in part thanks to their mastery of social media.
On April 4, the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University together with the Cloud to Street Initiative, will be holding a Digital Townhall meeting to connect activists who were leading the protest movement in Cairo with researchers at Stanford, Harvard, and the University of British Columbia. This will be an opportunity to hear directly from activists about their experiences leading protests, using social media to influence events, and what assistance they could use to increase their influence going forward.
The format will include a panel of four activists speaking by live video feed, with participants in North America sending questions by chat. You may log in to the conversation from any internet connection, or you may join us in person from the CISAC conference room in Encina Hall.
Sabah Hamamou is one of Egypt’s most acclaimed new media journalists. A 36-year-old whose Youtube channel has some 370,000 upload views, she is also a deputy editor at Al Ahram, the country’s most prestigious newspaper. Sabah initially joined the protests as a reporter, but when the protesters came under attack on the first evening of the revolution, she posted the videos she had taken from Tahrir Square, and instantly had 90,000 hits. Sabah then led an in-house revolt at Al-Ahram over the newspaper’s insistence on reporting regime propaganda about the revolution. When Al Ahram started reporting the truth about the protests in early February, people throughout Egypt began to realize how much the Mubarak regime had lost popular support.
Mona Shahien is a founder of the Revolutionary Youth Union, a group formed out of the masses in Tahrir Square that sparked initiatives to treat wounded protesters and to clean up the Square, two activities that went viral and demonstrated the new sense of civic engagement that underlies Egypt’s revolution. She recently founded Tahrir Lounge as a space to bring activists together to communicate, train and collaborate.
Abdel Rahman Faris is a one of three independents on the Revolutionary Youth Council, the coordinating group of youth movements that planned the January 25 protests that set off the revolution. Frustrated by censorship in the mainstream media, Faris set up the blog www.abdofares.blogspot.com, which he uses to mobilize online communities to engage in political activity.