Foraging in the Forest: Student Projects at Drew

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By: Nina Campli, Assistant Editor of Student and Arts

This week’s foraging has led us to Jared Sutton (’18), former President of Student Government who is working on his senior thesis. His thesis discusses the effect of union strength on the formation and sustainability of democracy in post-Arab Spring Egypt and Tunisia. Arab Spring, also called the Arab revolutions, was a series of revolts both violent and non-violent that occurred in North Africa and the Middle East. The revolts began in Tunisia on December 18, 2010, and spread to Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. Tunisia, for those who do not know, is located in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Algeria. The initial wave of revolutions died down in 2012 as demonstrators were met with violent responses and many large scale conflicts, such as the Syrian Civil War, broke out.

Sutton said, “I’ve considered the Arab Spring one of the most touching stories of our generation since the events occurred while I was in high school, and as Americans, I feel that we take democracy for granted.” Originally his plan was to write about the actual revolutions, but as time went on he realized the conversations about civil society are just as much and in fact even more interesting. Much of the research he has conducted has been reading and translating Arabic and French into English. He also said, “Unfortunately, much of the data I need regarding unionization by economic sector is kept private by the labor unions, impacting my research. However, I’ve pored over datasets and history books for what feels like a lifetime.”

Although he has no immediate plans to go to graduate school after school lets out in May, he does hope to “expand upon discussions regarding democracy in the developing world in my professional life. Moreover, casual conversations regarding the impacts of democratic freedoms in the U.S. and abroad will be a focal point for the remainder of my life.”

Sutton’s defense will take place on April 30 at 4 p.m. in BC 101.


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