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Feb 12 2011

Victory for Egypt’s Professional Class?

These past 2+ weeks I’ve been glued to the excellent evening broadcast coverage on Al Jazeera English of Egypt’s struggle for freedom and democracy.

Apart from how much better the reporting depth and insight versus the news quality among American media outlets, the most enlightening aspect has been just how the anti-government protests were led by Egyptians from the professional classes.   Watch the behind the scene’s report below and you’ll learn that the mass protests had leadership, organization, strategy and tactics that matched wits with the Mubarak regime.

It was a civil engineer and a software executive who were instrumental in organizing street demonstrations and communication outreach via Facebook that turned a small demonstration into a bigger one which only continued to grow.  And it was doctors, lawyers, and labor unions who added their weight to bring even more pressure to the regime.

Egypt’s peaceful revolution was rooted in a desire among many sections of civil society for freedom and the chance to enjoy what we take for granted in advanced economies.  It was certainly not an Islamic revolution, but a revolution of Muslims and Christians seeking to form a more equal society.  In many ways Egypt embodies many of the key global trends that have set the table for trade and professional associations to show the emerging market countries just how important we have been to the advancements in science, technology, medicine, industry, the arts, etc.

So it make you wonder.

  • Why is the “power of associations” little known beyond our home market here is the USA?
  • How much more successful could we be if government and private sector leaders in emerging markets knew more about how associations serve as gatekeepers to the standards, codes and generally accepted practices that make up the DNA of global business and social development in advanced economies?
  • Why is the association community silent in conveying a compelling vision of associations as forums to help build strong industries and professional classes that can supply 21st century jobs from 21st century businesses interconnected by global association communities building, sharing, and learning new ways to grow and strengthen social and economic development?

As the global trends analysis we presented back in December on this blog outlines, the massive youth population, need for good jobs and strong local economies, the ubiquity of technology, and the need for sustainable infrastructure… all offer opportunities for US associations to demonstrate their value.  Value that not only can grow your membership ranks and product sales that help train tomorrow’s professional classes, but also bring social and political stability through the practice of constructive self-government which is the bedrock of pluralistic societies.  US associations are such animals.

Now is the time to be active and engaged in this new world that is rapidly changing before our eyes.  Associations can play a historic part as they have in the US since the days of De Tocqueville or not…

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