Brookings Conference in Qatar To Discuss U.S.- Islamic Relations

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the varied responses to them, have raised a series of profound questions about relations between America and the Islamic world. The challenges that have resulted will be at the center of international affairs for years to come.

The Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World was launched in January 2002, with the mission of promoting positive relations between the U.S. and Muslim countries and movements. With the generous support of the Government of Qatar, it will convene a conference from October 19-21 2002, designed to examine the political, cultural, social, religious, and economic dynamics shaping relations between the Islamic world and the U.S. The conference will assemble leading scholars and practitioners from across the Islamic world (including Muslim communities in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia) and the United States, in order to exchange ideas and perspectives and to inform the wider policy debate. Given ongoing events, such assemblage is not only much-needed, but also of great significance.

The Doha conference will comprise a series of plenary sessions and task force discussions designed to promote a more in-depth dialogue. It will explore many of the vital issues of concern between the U.S. and the Islamic world. The planned topics include: the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks, tensions with Iraq, Palestinian-Israeli violence, globalization and the Islamic world, the role of the new media, the future of democratization, and the influence of the Gulf states on the wider Islamic world.

Members of the media are invited to attend the opening and closing sessions of the conference. The opening session will feature a keynote speech from His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, the Emir of Qatar. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 19th. The closing session will be held at 2:30 p.m. on October 21st. It will feature a speech from Sheikh Hamed Bin Jasim Bin Jaber Al-Thani, the Foreign Minister of Qatar. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the challenges ahead in U.S.-Islamic relations. The roundtable discussants will be former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution; Thomas Friedman, author and foreign affairs correspondent for The New York Times; Professor Shibley Telhami, Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland and non-resident Brookings Senior Fellow, Dr. Abdel Hamid Al Ansari, dean of the College of Sharia, University of Qatar; and Dr. Hamid Ansari, former ambassador of India to Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, and the United Nations.

The sessions will be held at the Ritz Carlton-Doha. For further information on the conference, please contact Colin Johnson at the Brookings Institution Communications Office, cjohnson@brookings.edu, 202-797-6310.