Duke University professor of economics and political science, Timur Kuran, visited the University last night to give a lecture on the "Religious Obstacles to Democratization in the Middle East."
The event was part of the Cline Symposium and intended to allow students to gain more insight on certain issues in the Middle East, said Scott Althaus, Associate Director for Cline Center for Democracy and associate professor in LAS.
"The focus of the Cline Symposium is to pick out important issues affecting the democracy of both the U.S.A. and the world and provide a forum for the students at the University of Illinois and community," he said.
Kuran pointed out the impact of political development and the history of the economic systems in the Middle East. He also spoke about the conditions needed for a civil society.
He said obstacles in economic development related to issues with business trends.
"Small and short-lived enterprises do not face the sorts of communication problems through the institution pre-activity," Kuran said. "(But it) became a major economic handicap for the region during the industrial revolution across the efficient exportation of modern technologies (which) required large and perpetual companies."
Linda Brown, certified veterinary technician in the College of Veterinary Medicine, said she came to the public lecture to learn more about political science.
"I thought it was very interesting and offered a lot of insights as to why the Middle East is not a democracy," Brown said.
She said that the lecture gave her an opportunity to think about how a democracy should not be required for every country but rather as an option.
"I think that there are a lot of changes that need to be made, but it's not something we (the United States) can do for them," she said.
Althaus said the event provided a chance for people to better understand the issues that the Middle East is facing.
"I think we have succeeded in raising the attention of the campus and people who are participating here to some of the issues that we need to understand in order to move into the next step," he said.
After the lecture, a Q-and-A section was held for attendees to ask Kuran questions.
The lecture was a follow-up event from a forum that was held yesterday at the Materials Science and Engineering Building called "Looking Back at the Arab Spring: Why It Happened, Why It Matters Today and What's Coming Next."