Dilemmas of Democratization – a view from the Middle East

Sune Segal, The Plum Foundation

CONFERENCE

  

Dilemmas of Democratization – a view from the Middle East

 

Internal and external challenges to democratization in the contemporary Middle East

 

Copenhagen, 4-5 February 2005

 

Sponsered by the Plum Foundation

 

 

Sted:          Danish Design Centre, HC Andersens Boulevard 27, DK-1553 Copenhagen V

 

(Om baggrunden for konferencen se nederst I denne mail)

 

 

Practical information

Registration is required by e-mail to secretariat@plumfoundation.dk no later than Thursday 27 January 2005. Please include name, title and organisation (in English) in your registration. The conference fee will be 300,00 DKK for both days (including lunch and refreshments). Payment instructions will follow by e-mail upon registration. For further information, please contact:

 

Sune Segal, coordinator, The Plum Foundation

Tel. + 45 33 91 88 98, secretariat@plumfoundation.dk, www.plumfoundation.dk

 

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

(as of 3 January 2005)

 

Friday 4th February 2005

09.00 AM –09.30 AM           Registration

 

09.30 AM – 09.35 AM          Welcome by moderator Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, professor, dr.phil., Director of the Danish Institute in Damascus

 

09.35 AM – 10.05 AM          The UNDP’s Arab Human Development Reports and their Readings

                                            Nader Fergany, Director, al-Mishkat Center for Research and Training, Cairo

 

10.05 AM – 10.20 AM          Questions from the audience

 

10.20 AM – 10.50AM           Political Reform in the Middle East – Internal Obstacles and Facilitators Raymond Hinnebusch, Professor of International Relations and Middle East Politics, University of St. Andrews

 

10.50 AM – 11.05 AM          Questions from the audience

 

11.05 AM – 11.20 AM          Break

 

11.20 AM –12.35 PM          US and European Support to Democratic Reform: the Intentions and Practices as Seen from the Middle East

A Saudi view (25 min.)

Fowziyah Abu-Khalid, sociologist, Riyadh

 

A Saudi view (25 min.)

Mai Yamani, Research Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London

 

A Palestinian view (25 min.)

Hanan Rabbani, Consultant, Amnesty International, Amman

 

12.35 PM – 01.35 PM           Lunch

 

01.35 PM– 02.25 PM            US and European Support to Democratic Reform: the Intentions and Practices as Seen from the Middle East

A Palestinian view (25 min.)

Yezid Sayigh, Academic Director, Centre for International Studies,

University of Cambridge

 

A Syrian view (25 min.)

Samir Aita, President Director General, A Concept/Mafhoum

 

02.25 PM – 02.40 PM           Beak

 

02.40 PM – 03.40 PM           Questions to the panel (Nader Fergany, Raymond Hinnebush, Fowziyah Abu-Khalid, Mai Yamani, Hanan Rabbani, Yezid Sayigh, Samir Aita) from:

Lone Johnsen,  director, Esrum Abbey Foundation

Lasse Ellegaard, fm. Middle East correspondent, Jyllandsposten

Jørgen Steen Nielsen, journalist, Dagbladet Information

 

 

Saturday 5th February 2005

09.30 AM – 09.35 AM          Summary of the previous day by moderator Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, professor, dr.phil., Director of the Danish Institute in Damascus

09.35 AM – 10.10 AM          Islamophobia in Europe and its impact on the push for democratisation in the Arab world

                                            Jørgen S. Nielsen, professor of Islamic studies, University of Birmingham

10.10 AM – 10.25 AM          Questions from the audience

 

10.25 AM – 10.40 AM          Break

 

10.40 AM – 11.40 AM          Democratization in Future Iraq

                                            Huda Al-Nu’aimi, director, Palestine Studies Center,

University of Baghdad (30 min.)

 

Amal Shlash,  professor of economics, University of Baghdad, and director of Beit Al-Hikmah Research Center, Baghdad (30 min.)

 

 11.40 AM – 12.00 PM         Questions from the audience

 

12.00 PM – 01.00 PM           Lunch

 

01.00 PM – 01.30 PM           Greater Middle East Map as Seen from Ramallah

Mustafa Barghouti, PNA presidential candidate, Palestinian National Initiative (to be confirmed)

 

01.30 PM – 01.45 PM           Questions from the audience

 

01.45 PM – 02.15 PM        The crisis in the Palestinian national movement and the struggle for Palestinian democracy

 

Graham Usher, author and journalist, correspondent for Middle East International and Economist

 

02.15 PM – 02.30 PM           Questions from the audience

 

02.30 PM – 02.45 PM           Closing remarks by moderator Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, professor, dr.phil., Director of the Danish Institute in Damascus

 

Background

The countries of the Middle East are undergoing a period of political transformation. But the current reform processes face a number of challenges.

 

Internally, political opposition parties and factions, dissidents and NGOs are subject to varying degrees of control and containment at the hand of regimes whose popular legitimacy remains limited. Whereas some of these regimes have entered into dialogue with reform-oriented organisations and political factions, it remains to be seen whether this will result in comprehensive and enduring reforms and popular participation.

 

Furthermore, external actors – particularly the United States and to a lesser extent Europe – seek to yield influence on the political landscape of the Middle East based on the notion that promoting democracy is key to ensuring stability and prosperity in the region. However, these efforts are viewed with suspicion by large sections of the Arab public, not least in the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The question therefore remains whether the approach represented by initiatives such as the US “Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative” and the Danish “Wider Middle East Initiative” is appropriate, and, if not, what alternatives are at hand.

 

Focusing on conveying ‘a view from the Middle East’, this conference brings together a number of scholars and opinion makers from countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Palestine, who will discuss the challenges and possibilities arising from the latest developments in the region (please see the attached conference programme for more information).

 

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