On March 15, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings hosted Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
As momentous changes have swept across the Arab world over the past two years, the OIC has emerged as an important voice defending the dignity and rights of its citizens. Early last year, the OIC suspended Libya from membership and condemned Muammar Gaddafi's attacks against his own people. It has also established a Human Rights Commission that has emphasized human rights violations in Syria, and repeatedly called attention to the need for international aid to Somalia.
Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu of Turkey took office as the ninth secretary general of the OIC in January 2005. Since joining the OIC in 1980 as founding director general of the Research Centre for Islamic History, Culture and Arts (IRCICA) in Istanbul, Dr. İhsanoğlu has sought to create awareness about Islamic culture across the world through research, publishing, and organizing congresses. He has been recognized as a leading contributor to rapprochement between cultures, particularly between the Muslim and Western worlds.
Dr. İhsanoğlu spoke about the Arab uprisings, the role of the OIC in engaging with and advocating for the rights of Muslim communities outside of the organization’s member states, the challenges in ending the violence in Syria, and the OIC’s efforts at promoting human rights and good governance. Participants of the event included current and former ambassadors, government officials, academics, and journalists.