Challenges to Human Security in Arab Countries

Challenges to Human Security in Arab Countries

David Yang, coordinator of the UNDP Washington Roundtable invites Digest readers to check out next week’s special session of the UNDP Washington Roundtable: the U.S. launch of the Arab Human Development Report 2009 on Wednesday, July 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW):

Authored by leading Arab intellectuals and sponsored by UNDP, AHDR 2009 is entitled “Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries.” The first four volumes of the AHDR series (2002-2005) established the framework for the global debate on Arab reformTime magazine hailed the inaugural volume as “the most important volume published in 2002.”

The new report confronts the question of why the obstacles to Arab human development have proven to be so stubborn. The authors apply Amartya Sen’s concept of “human security” to the Arab region. They define human security as “the liberation of human beings from those intense, extensive, prolonged and comprehensive threats to which their lives and freedom are vulnerable.” This approach allows the authors to expand the agenda of Arab reform in an integrated manner to include such diverse challenges as water scarcity, the youth demographic bubble, the unaccountability of the security sector, violence against women, the imbalance of the oil economy, dependence on food imports, and insufficient health care. Given the new U.S. agenda (as stated by President Obama in his recent speech in Cairo), the multifaceted AHDR 2009 arrives at an opportune moment in the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. 

The panels will bring together Washington experts, AHDR authors from the region, and senior UNDP officials. Breakfast and lunch will be served.  RSVP by Monday, July 27, by sending an email to [email protected]. Please feel free to share this invitation with colleagues.

 UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2009:

Washington Launch, 29 July 2009

(Venue: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.             Breakfast Buffet

9:00 a.m.                       Summary of AHDR 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries

  • Amat Alsoswa, UN Assistant Secretary-General & UNDP Assistant Administrator, UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States

9:45 a.m.                       Panel One: The Arab State and Human Security

  • Moderator: David Yang, Senior Advisor, UNDP’s Washington Liaison Office

  • Bahgat Korany, Professor of International Relations and Political Economy, The American University in Cairo

  • Marina Ottaway, Director, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

10:45 a.m.                     Coffee Break

11:00 a.m.                     Panel Two: The Arab Economy and Human Security

  • Moderator: David Yang, UNDP

  • Heba El-Laithy, Professor of Statistics, Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Cairo University

  • Amit Pandya, Senior Associate, Henry L. Stimson Center

  • Adel Abdellatif, Chief of Regional Program Division, UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States

12:00 p.m.                     Lunch Buffet

12:15 p.m.                     Luncheon Roundtable: Why Have Obstacles to Arab Human Development Proven to Be So Stubborn?

  • Moderator: Riz Khan, Host of the Riz Khan Show, Aljazeera Network

  • Thomas Friedman, The New York Times

  • Bahgat Korany, The American University in Cairo

  • ·         Robin Wright, Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center; and author of Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

  • [Senior U.S. Official, invited]

                               1:45 p.m.                      Adjournment

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