This chapter reviews the literature on national dialogues and finds that in framing such exercises, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya must determine the proper timing; select appropriate participants, specifically when it comes to the inclusion of revolutionaries and members of former regimes; ensure that participants are representative of and enjoy legitimacy within their constituencies; and, most importantly, develop a mechanism for translating agreements to action on the ground. It argues that Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya’s distinct approaches to national dialogue are likely to influence, and in some cases have already influenced, their overall transition process. Tunisia opted to develop a homegrown national dialogue driven mainly by local civil society organizations. Meanwhile, Yemen relied primarily on a structured and UN-assisted national dialogue. Libya has been unable to begin a serious national dialogue in its first four chaotic years of transition. Among these three approaches, this chapter argues that Tunisia’s homegrown model is likely the most effective approach to help end the polarization that has engulfed societies undergoing political transition following the Arab Spring.
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