Professor Chahine Ghais Speaks about Pluralist State


The Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution hosted distinguished guest speaker Professor of International Relations at NDU Dr. Chahine Ghais, to address the dilemma of pluralism and governance in the MENA region.  Dr. Ghais discussed his latest publication “Resolving Identity Conflict in the Middle East: A Theoretical Understanding” which is a chapter in the book “Post-Conflict Power-Sharing Agreements.” Dr. Ghais generously presented his theoretical chapter on identity politics in which he defines the terms identity, politics, interests, and nation-state system to explain the “impulse” behind identity groups claiming a right to establish their own nations. The example upon which these concepts are projected is the Syrian crisis and the possible solutions that exist to solve the identity conflict taking place (a power-sharing system that provides all groups with equal representation). Dr. Ghais also mentioned the tension between two crucial concepts in the international system today: sovereignty of recognized states and the right of self-determination of possible nations. The question is: which overrides the other and when does a distinct group qualify for the right of self-determination. These and other concepts were dissected in an interactive discussion that aimed at understanding key factors that might “make or break a pluralistic state” – such as Syria. The presentation was followed by an enriching Q&A session that shed light on issues of the partitioning of Syria, the execution of a federal system to solve the conflict of pluralism, different power-sharing models, and the belonging of the individual to a nation vs to a state. In the end Dr. Ghais gave fruitful points to keep in mind when addressing the concepts of pluralism, transitions, and power-sharing systems.