The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution announced today that its U.S.-Islamic World Forum will be held in Doha from April 10-12, 2005, hosted in conjunction with the government of Qatar. The Forum serves as both a convening body for American and Muslim world leaders and as a catalyst for promoting more positive relations between the U.S. and Muslim states and communities.
Over 150 leaders from the U.S. and 35 Muslim countries from Senegal to Indonesia plan to attend this year’s Forum. Top American and Muslim world luminaries from the fields of politics, business, civil society, academia, science, and the news media will participate in both plenary sessions and smaller working groups, assessing today’s state of U.S.-Islamic world relations, the Middle East peace process, economics, the impact of elections, security, good governance, human development, science and technology, and the role of the press. The Forum will then follow up the Doha meetings with a series of joint initiatives aimed at strengthening ties between the Islamic world and the United States, as well as outreach, research, and publication activities.
Among the speakers scheduled to appear in Doha this year are H.H. Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, emir of Qatar; Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia; Sadiq al Mahdi, former prime minister of Sudan and president of the National Umma Party; Tariq Ramadan, professor at the University of Geneva; Richard Holbrooke, vice chairman, Perseus LLC; Saad Eddin Ibrahim, director, Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies (Egypt); Robert Blackwill, president, Barbour Griffith & Rogers International; and Iyad Allawi, prime minister, Iraqi Interim Government. A wide range of other government ministers, business leaders, leading journalists, and civil society activists will also be in attendance.
The Forum is organized by the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, a Brookings Institution initiative housed within the Saban Center that explores how the U.S. can reconcile its goals of defeating terrorism and reducing the appeal of extremists groups with its need to build more positive relations with the Muslim world. It builds on the success of last year’s inaugural conference at which former President Clinton spoke. The 2004 Forum not only fostered serious dialogue amongst policymakers and opinion-shapers, but also generated human development initiatives in the Middle East, the formation of a Muslim-American foreign policy caucus, and the initiation of “track two” diplomatic talks for certain conflict zones.
Brookings Senior Fellows Martin Indyk, Stephen P. Cohen, and Shibley Telhami are the Project’s co-convenors. Peter W. Singer, director of the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and a senior fellow at Brookings, called the Forum, “an important initiative designed to bring together key leaders from across the U.S. and the wider Muslim world, focusing our efforts on the essential foreign policy challenge of this period.”
Members of the media are invited to attend the opening and plenary sessions of the conference. Further information on the Forum and video downloads of its leader roundtables and keynote speeches will be available at http://www.us-islamicworldforum.org.
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