(New York, NY) — Century International, The Century Foundation (TCF)’s Center for International Research and Policy, today launched a new project that explores parallel crises in two regions—the Middle East-North Africa and Western Europe-North America—bringing a collaborative approach that cuts across regional silos. Led by Thanassis Cambanis, director of Century International and TCF senior fellow, and Naira Antoun, director of the Transnational Trends in Citizenship initiative and Century International fellow, the project brings together more than 20 of the world’s leading researchers, policymakers, and activists to discuss the interconnected crises of rising authoritarianism and attacks on democracy in both regions.

The launch of Transnational Trends in Citizenship follows two years of research and collaboration among leading experts investigating these common trends, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Open Society Foundations. Experts examined the crisis of citizenship in four distinct working groups focused on militias, gender and sexuality, police accountability, and protests, and collaborated on more than two dozen pieces of written and audio content that Century International will release over the next five weeks. Newly released content will include two reports, five roundtables featuring groups of experts in discussion, 12 shorter written pieces, and eight podcasts.

“The crises we’ve recently faced in the United States that threaten our democracy are not unique, from the police violence that spurred nationwide demonstrations to the insurrection on January 6, 2021. In many ways, America’s problems mirror broader trends in the West, the Middle East, and the entire world,” said Cambanis. “But too often, these issues are considered in a vacuum, without thought of the commonalities and interactions across countries and regions. With this project, we hope to change that—we’ve been intentional about bringing together experts from both regions, the West and the Middle East, to learn from each other, and to put in perspective the shared nature of these crises, as well as their potential solutions.”

The project kicks off this week with the publication of three pieces of content:

  • The project’s first report, “No Region Is an Island, authored by Cambanis and Antoun, explores how, in an age of failing government and mass protest, networked crises require networked solutions. Countries in the West and the Middle East can learn from common crises, and from each other, to develop much-needed solutions. This report also provides an overview of the Transnational Trends in Citizenship project, its unique approach of bringing together experts and activists from across regions to tackle entrenched problems, and the takeaways from two years of work.
  • The first episode of the new season of the Order from Ashes podcast, also featuring Cambanis and Antoun, discusses the interconnected nature of the crises facing the West and the Middle East, and the ways that policymakers and activists across the world can learn from one another’s approaches to militias, gender and sexuality, police accountability, and protest movements. ​​
  • In the project’s first roundtable, focused on militias, to be published on Thursday, April 28, eight experts probe how and why violence posed by armed militias has become increasingly prominent around the world, from the January 6 insurrection to the Houthis in Yemen, and much more. The roundtable authors are Kurt Braddock, Thanassis Cambanis, Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Sam Jackson, Aron Lund, Renad Mansour, Jacob Mundy, and Amanda Rogers.

“Transnational Trends in Citizenship is all about how juxtaposing the crises in the Middle East and the West can bring clarity to the problems facing these regions,” said Antoun. “The learning in this project really flows both ways, and we believe that’s been critical to understanding the trends behind the crises we all face. The diversity of perspective and expertise brought by the members of this project, and the conversations between them featured in these new pieces, is a testament to the importance of that strategy.”

The full list of Transnational Trends in Citizenship project members includes: Thanassis Cambanis, Taif Alkhudary, Naira Antoun, Hayal Akarsu, Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Sabiha Allouche, Monica Bell, Houria Bouteldja, Kurt Braddock, Thomas Carothers, Nicole Carty, Karma R. Chávez, Lobna Darwish, Joanna Gilmore, Sam Jackson, Jean Kassir, Kate Korycki, Aron Lund, Renad Mansour, Ivan Marovic, Maya Mikdashi, Jacob Mundy, Nicole Nguyen, ​​Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Benjamin Press, Mara Revkin, Amanda Rogers, Omar Sirri, Emma Spruce, Alex Vitale, Hicham Yezza, and Anna Younes. 

Included below is a release schedule for the Transnational Trends in Citizenship project. For embargoed copies of any of the forthcoming reports, email [email protected]. You can find more information about the project here

Week 2: Militias

Tuesday, May 3

  • Commentary #1: Militias, Online and Off, authored by Sam Jackson and Aron Lund
  • Commentary #2: How Much Control Do International Sponsors Have Over Militias? Authored by  Nadwa Al-Dawsari and Thanassis Cambanis 
  • Commentary #3: When Collective Identity and Shared Culture Fuel Militia Violence, authored by Kurt Braddock and Jacob Mundy 
  • Podcast #2: Gender Dimensions, Social Roots of Armed Groups, with Amanda Rogers and Naira Antoun

Thursday, May 5

  • Commentary #4: Look at the State, Not the Hybrid Actors, authored by Thanassis Cambanis and Renad Mansour
  • Commentary #5: Militias Aren’t New. Our Fixation on Them Is, authored by Jacob Mundy
  • Commentary #6: The Patriot-Terrorist Dichotomy, authored by Amanda Rogers 
  • Podcast #3: Militias: Is There Really a New Way of War? With Jacob Mundy and Naira Antoun

Week 3: Gender & Sexuality

Tuesday, May 10

  • Framing roundtable #2: The Politics of Moral Panics, featuring nine experts: Sabiha Allouche, Houria Bouteldja, Karma R. Chávez, Lobna Darwish, Kate Korycki, Maya Mikdashi, Emma Spruce, Anna Younes, Naira Antoun
  • Podcast #4: Gender: Exceptionalism, with Karma R. Chávez, Maya Mikdashi, and Naira Antoun

Thursday, May 12

  • Commentary #7: Bringing Transnational Perspectives to Gender Studies, authored by Sabiha Allouche and Emma Spruce 
  • Commentary #8: Sexuality and Citizenship, in Lebanon and the United States, authored by Maya Mikdashi and Karma R. Chávez
  • Podcast #5: Gender: Moral Panics, featuring Lobna Darwish, Kate Korycki, and Naira Antoun

Week 4: Police Accountability

Tuesday, May 17

  • Framing roundtable #3: Police Reform in Global Perspective, featuring eight experts: Mara Revkin, Hayal Akarsu, Monica Bell, Joanna Gilmore, Nicole Nguyen, Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Omar Sirri, Alex Vitale
  • Podcast #6: Police Reform as a Global Industry, featuring Hayal Akarsu, Alex Vitale, and Naira Antoun

Thursday, May 19

  • Roundtable #4:  Studies of Policing Should Extend to Communities, authored by Hayal Akarsu, Nicole Nguyen, and Alex Vitale
  • Commentary #9: Diversity at the Top Isn’t Enough to Change Police Cultures, authored by Naira Antoun and Alex Vitale 

Week 5: Protest

Tuesday, May 24

  • Framing roundtable #5: How Can Protests Build Lasting Political Movements, featuring seven experts: Taif Alkhudary, Thanassis Cambanis, Nicole Carty, Thomas Carothers,  Jean Kassir, Ivan Marovic, and Hicham Yezza
  • Commentary #10: Global Lessons from the Movement for Black Lives, authored by Nicole Carty and Naira Antoun 
  • Commentary #11: Similar Forces Thwart Secular Protest Movements in Iraq and Lebanon, authored by Taif Alkhudary and Jean Kassir
  • Podcast #7: Protests: From Protests to Movements, featuring Ivan Marovic and Naira Antoun

Thursday, May 26

  • Report #2: Nonviolent Movements Can Save a World in Crisis, authored by Ivan Marovic 
  • Commentary #12: Why Protests Evolve—or Don’t—in the Middle East, Europe, and North America, authored by Thomas Carothers and Benjamin Press 
  • Podcast #8: Protests: Learning in Movements, featuring Nicole Carty, Jean Kassir, and Naira Antoun