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The 2012 U.S.-Islamic World Forum, convened by the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, housed within the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, in partnership with the State of Qatar, took place in Doha, Qatar, on May 29-31. The theme for the forum was, "New Voices, New Directions," emphasizing the challenge of change. Policy makers and officials, thought leaders and activists, and entrepreneurs and journalists met during sessions to facilitate productive dialogue concerning problems faced in U.S. relations with the Islamic world.
In 2011, the forum took place in the midst of the “Arab Awakening” and the dramatic changes that continue to transform the Middle East and North Africa. From Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen, ordinary citizens made possible extraordinary political and social changes. The 2012 forum examined the impact of these changes and continuing challenges posed for Muslim communities around the globe, including in South and Southeast Asia, as well as strategic implications for the United States.
During the three days of the forum there were a variety of formats for candid dialogue and engagement:
- A series of keynote speeches at the opening gala dinner from world leaders on the challenges confronting Muslim communities around the globe and their relations with the United States.
- Three plenary sessions of fast-paced, in-depth discussions among prominent international figures on broad thematic issues: political, social, and geostrategic change in the Muslim world.
- Two panel discussions featuring experts on key issues: the 2012 U.S. presidential elections and the role of arts and culture in social change.
- A set of four small working groups that brought together practitioners from specific fields to develop practical partnerships and policy recommendations presented in papers published by the Brookings Institution.
- The 2012 signature event, “The Long Conversation,” is an effort to explore the dynamic relationship between citizen, religion, and the state in a changing world. The resulting policy paper incorporates discussion amongst forum participants during this off the record session.