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Past Event

2012 U.S.-Islamic World Forum

Watch pre-forum interviews»

Read the 2012 working group and long conversation papers »

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.


Monday, May 28 - 8:00PM Doha (1:00PM ET)

Welcoming Reception hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Rashad Hussain

U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Durriya Badani

Deputy Director, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings - Foreign Policy

Tuesday, May 29 - 10:30AM-11:00AM Doha (3:30AM-4:00AM ET)

Welcome to the 2012 U.S.-Islamic World Forum (Webcast)

Tuesday, May 29 - 11:00AM-12:45PM Doha (4:00AM-5:45AM ET)

Political Change: The Dynamics of Domestic Transformations (Webcast)

Saeb Erekat

Former Chief of PLO Monitoring and Steering Committee, Palestine

Tuesday, May 29, 7:00PM-8:30PM Doha (12:00PM-1:30PM ET)

Gala Dinner Keynote Addresses (Webcast)

Tuesday, May 29, 8:30PM-9:30PM Doha (1:30PM-2:30PM ET)

After-Dinner Panel Discussion: Confronting Change: Challenge and Opportunity (Webcast)

Saeb Erekat

Former Chief of PLO Monitoring and Steering Committee, Palestine

Wednesday, May 30, 8:00AM-9:00AM Doha (1:00AM-2:00AM ET)

Arts and Culture Panel (Webcast)

Walter Parkes

Film Producer and Writer, Parkes/MacDonald Productions

Wednesday, May 30, 11:15AM-12:45PM Doha (4:15AM-5:45AM ET)

Social Change: The Power of Non-State Actors (Webcast)

Wednesday, May 30 - 3:00PM-5:30PM Doha (8:00AM-10:30AM ET)

"The Long Conversation"

Peter Mandaville

Former Brookings Expert

Professor of International Affairs, Schar School of Policy and Government - George Mason University

Director, Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies - George Mason University

Senior Research Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs - Georgetown University

Wednesday, May 30, 5:30PM-6:30PM Doha (10:30AM-11:30AM ET)

Keynote Address (Webcast)

Denis McDonough

Former Chief of Staff, - President Barack Obama

Senior Principal - Markle Foundation

Thursday, May 31, 8:00AM-9:00AM Doha (1:00AM-2:00AM ET)

2012 U.S. Presidential Election Panel (Webcast)

Dalia Mogahed

President/CEO, Mogahed Consulting; Former Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, United States

Thursday, May 31 - 11:00AM-11:30AM Doha (4:00AM-4:30AM ET)

Keynote Address: Lessons from Dictatorship: Building Consensus Through Democracy (Webcast)

Thursday, May 31 - 11:30AM-1:30PM Doha (4:30AM-6:30AM ET)

Strategic Change: New Geopolitical Challenges and Closing Remarks (Webcast)

Nabil Fahmy

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt

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