Thursday, March 06, 2008

Project on the Middle East Student Conferences

Young Global Leaders Forum:
Democratic Development in the Middle East and North Africa

Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and their regional partners are organizing a series of conferences in the Middle East dedicated to fostering systemic political reform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and exploring how the U.S. can best support it. The participants will be a diverse group of American and MENA university students and young professionals who develop policy recommendations at conferences in Morocco, Egypt and Jordan in spring 2008. The conferences will lay the foundation for a lasting network of reform-oriented young people by using social networking websites for political activism, fostering people-powered journalism and commentary, and providing training for participants to act as “voices” for the conference recommendations.

AID and POMED have partnered with six regional partners to conceptualize, organize and conduct these conferences and follow-up activities. At a time when Middle East and North African attitudes toward American policies are near a dangerously low point, a forum involving the key constituency of university students and young professionals is needed more urgently than ever before. This forum will a) bring together diverse groups of young American and MENA leaders to reach a more shared understanding of cooperative ways to address global challenges; b) practice democracy by developing and ratifying innovative policy recommendations to present to U.S. and regional officials and policymakers; c) prepare the participants for “reverse public diplomacy” in their home communities; and d) create a sustainable dialogue network to facilitate enduring discussion of the conferences’ reform agenda and recommendations. For more information on each of the conferences:

Morocco, April 25-26, 2008 — “Find Your Voice: A Cross-Cultural Forum on Political Participation and Civic Activism”

Egypt, May 2-3, 2008 — “Beyond Borders: An Egyptian-American Dialogue”

Jordan, May 29-31, 2008 — “We Are Connected, But Are We Communicating? American Foreign Policy and Jordanian Society: A Dialogue”