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                 Global Conversations Inspired by the Arab Uprisings of 2011              

From left: Linda Herrera, Mohamed ElBaradei, Rajmohan Gandhi, Magdy Elabady. Cairo, Egypt, November 2012

The Back Story


In the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings of 2011, Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel peace laureate, met with Rajmohan Gandhi, peace activist, scholar & grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, for an epic encounter. The Democracy Dialogue videos and transcripts are highlights from their historic meeting in Cairo.

In this time of enormous hope mixed with tremendous uncertainty, ElBaradei was head of the Constitution Party (hizb al-dastoor), and  on the verge of leading the opposition coalition, The National Association for Change. The Egyptian parliament was in the process of drafting a new constitution, the government of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi was facing growing levels of popular discontent, and pressure was mounting on the opposition to provide a viable alternative to the Brotherhood and the Military.

Professor Linda Herrera of the Global Studies in Education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), led a small delegation from Illinois that included Rajmohan and Usha Gandhi and Egyptian science professor Magdy Elabady. The goal was to meet and support Egyptian youth and  engage in a dialogue with Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei about the Egyptian uprising, Gandhi's experiences during India's independence movement, and ways for navigating our times of uprisings, mass migrations, precarity, and struggles for democratic change.  For more background  on Democracy Dialogue and the ElBaradei-Gandhi encounter see articles in Mada Masr , Jadaliyya, and Illinois News Bureau.


Members of the Democracy Dialogue team in Champaign from left: Liangliang Amy Cai, Ga Young Chung, Fauzia Rahman, Usha Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi, Abdullah Mansoor, 2015

A group of international  graduate students in the Global Studies in Education program at UIUC contributed to Democracy Dialogue to ensure the project's global reach. They translated transcripts,  subtitled videos, and organized social media  in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Urdu.






The dialogue between Mohamed ElBaradei and Rajmohan Gandhi took place in Cairo, Egypt on November 19 and 20, 2012. The interviewers were Linda Herrera and Magdy Alabady. The Office of International Programs and the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) provided initial support for this project. The filming was done by Figleaf Studios, under contract with the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Special Thanks to Usha Gandhi, Aida ElKashef, Rizwan Uddin, Abdelrahman Mansour, Christina Huang, Shiva Bayat, Tara Bayat, Alejandro Jaramillo and the photographer Mosa’ab ElShamy who generously has given permission to use his photos throughout this website and in the videos. The biggest debt of gratitude goes to Mohamed ElBaradei and Rajmohan Gandhi. They entered the dialogue with no conditions whatsoever in a genuine spirit of openness and exchange. 

ElBaradei Gandhi animated


The videos, transcripts, and audio files displayed on this website are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. You can modify and build upon this work as long as the original author (Linda Herrera / is credited in the new work, and the new work is non-commercial and licensed under identical terms.