After the uprising

first_imgThe uprising in Tunisia has drawn the world’s attention, including words of support from President Obama in his State of the Union address. However, two Harvard experts on the region say it is still unclear whether the protests will lead to a truly democratic government or if another strongman will emerge to replace ousted president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.Yet for the first time, there is debate on Tunisian TV, the Internet is uncensored, and “you can criticize the interim government openly on the streets,” said Malika Zeghal, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in Contemporary Islamic Thought and Life, during a panel talk, “Assessing Tunisia,” Jan. 26 at the Harvard Kennedy School.Still, “It’s a little early to see if there will be a real regime change in the near future.”Zeghal does not see a rise in radical Islam that would change Tunisia’s largely secular stance in politics and social structure. The massive demonstrations, covered by social media like Twitter and Facebook, show no ideological and Islamist slogans, she said.The movement does show surprising political sophistication. “It doesn’t want to see an old regime in new clothing; it wants to see a new mode of governance,” she said.Tunisia has been perceived as a stable and prosperous, if authoritarian regime, but protests against poor working conditions, corruption, and nepotism emerged in the phosphate mining areas of Gafsa in 2008. The protests, Zeghal said, were ruthlessly suppressed, but sowed the seeds for the discontent that spread in December when a young street merchant burned himself alive after being beaten by police. Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 23 years, fled Jan. 14.Protests were fueled by a sense of betrayal, said William Granara, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, director of Modern Language Programs, and director of the Moroccan Studies Program.Granara, who has visited Tunisia many times since 1982, said Ben Ali enjoyed unprecedented admiration when he took power in a bloodless coup in 1987. Over the years, even as evidence of corruption and suppression piled up, Tunisians remained loyal, willing to cut him slack due to the country’s economic growth and Ben Ali’s pledge to keep Islamists at bay, he said.“Eventually he turned his country into a police state,” Granara said. Finally, the public rebelled, saying: “We don’t deserve this. Our allegiances are with you. Why all this corruption?”“The rage that you see right now is as much the sense of betrayal of a people whose beloved president has turned on them,” he said.What happens next?  “Things are changing every minute, every hour,” said Zeghal. Islamists “will probably come back into the political game. I don’t think people should be afraid of that.”Even if Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamic party, Ennahda, returns from exile, Zeghal does not see a shift to radical Islam. Ghannouchi, she noted, has pledged not to change the legal status quo.Harvard History Professor Mary Lewis asked the panelists why Ben Ali seemingly left power so quickly.“The question of rapidity is really fascinating,” Granara said. Both he and Zeghal speculated that external pressure from the French or American embassies or even from Ben Ali’s own party, seeking to stem the tide of protest, played a part in Ben Ali’s hasty departure.While the outcome remains uncertain, “This is an extraordinary moment in the history of the Arab Middle East, [where] for the first time, a popular revolution ousts a dictator,” Zeghal said.The discussion was sponsored by the Outreach Center at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program.last_img read more

Help members soar, not simply survive

first_imgThree years ago, Affinity Federal Credit Union($3.5B, Basking Ridge, NJ) was looking for a holistic way to grade member engagement. Traditional models — namely, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric — reflect a moment in time in the member experience, and Affinity wanted more regular, meaningful feedback.In its search, the credit union learned about a member engagement score developed by Gallup, an analytics and advisory company. Gallup, unlike NPS, offers analysis on the moment of truth — which aims to understand the psychology behind a purchasing decision. In addition, Gallup has spent years researching personal well-being. Affinity CEO John Fenton saw how combining engagement and well-being scoring into a survey-based member feedback mechanism, all designed and administered with Gallup’s involvement, could provide a level of insight to which it had not previously had access. Plus, Affinity thinks there’s a connection between member engagement with the credit union and overall financial well-being, so better measuring the former to help improve the latter.After a formal conversation with Gallup in early 2019, Fenton assigned its chief brand officer, Jacqui Kearns, to lead the partnership. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Syracuse’s defense plays complete game in 27-24 win over Pittsburgh

first_img Published on October 7, 2017 at 7:12 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer The recipe for the last two Syracuse losses was the same. A struggling offense that couldn’t stay on the field left the defense to maintain the game.Considering the opponents and game flow, SU’s defense had two good performances in each of the last two weeks — both losses to LSU and N.C. State. Head coach Dino Babers said after each game that he was happy with the unit’s performance.On Saturday, the Orange (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) once again failed to get much going in the first half on offense, stuck on just three points for nearly the entire stanza. The defense answered the call, keeping Pittsburgh’s (2-4, 0-2) offense at bay for a majority of the game, forcing five three-and-outs, including four in the first half, in what would eventually be a 27-24 win for SU.“We just wanted to make sure we got them off the field and got our offense the ball as much as possible,” said linebacker Parris Bennett, who finished the game with 14 tackles, the third straight game in which he’s had 12 or more. “We knew three and outs was the fastest way besides turnovers.”The front seven for Syracuse dominated a weak Pittsburgh offensive line throughout the game. The Panthers attempted numerous shovel passes throughout the game, but most were snuffed out by the linebackers. In front of the linebackers, SU’s defensive ends brought good pressure to ensure that the quarterback — whether it was starter Max Browne or backup Ben DiNucci, who came in after Browne got hurt — couldn’t escape.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhere the Syracuse defense really made its mark was on third down. The Panthers only converted on three third downs the whole game, and all of those came in the fourth quarter. The stops weren’t particularly easy ones, either, as there weren’t many situations when Syracuse pinned Pittsburgh back. Of the seven third-down attempts that Pittsburgh had in the first half, only two were more than five yards.“When you come in at halftime and you see the opposing team has not converted a third down,” Babers said, “that’s absolutely amazing.”While Pittsburgh did manage to move the ball from time to time, the Orange largely avoided giving up the big play that has burned it in the past, as the secondary had a strong outing.Early in the game, a Pitt receiver was targeted deep down the field and had a step on SU cornerback Scoop Bradshaw with no safety help over the top. Bradshaw managed to sneak his hand in and break the pass up. On the next play, Bradshaw hit a receiver who was trying to corral the ball near the sideline and forced it to pop out.Offense is what Babers has become known for. After the LSU game, Babers said that SU needed to score more points if it wanted to win the close games it’d been in. The Orange defense knows it needs to give that unit a shot to put up points. It did just that, even if it took longer than expected for those points to come.“I mean, we know this offense just needs any chance they can get. They can get going at any moment,” Bennett said. “I have confidence that we’re going to stop (the opposing team) and get them the ball back every time.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more