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.
“This is the way the world thinks about innovation; they don’t think about countries or states or metropolitan areas, or even cities, they think about districts,” he said. “You have that now, and you need to play it out.” [Report release event: Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city]
Bruce Katz of Brookings said Oakland, with the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, could become a “playground of innovation” through a partnership recommended in the report. The InnovatePGH partnership would feature collaboration between the city, universities, entrepreneurs and corporations to nurture high-tech business. [Report release event: Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city]
“You were a ‘first mover’ around steel and that had dramatic multiplier effects across the economy,” Bruce Katz, a scholar at Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, told some 200 people at a conference in the Hill District. “And we’re saying you can do it again. You can do this.” [Report release event: Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city]