Middle Eastern Democrats and Their Vision of the Future

Middle Eastern Democrats and Their Vision of the Future

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
8:30a.m. – 2:00p.m

Democrats in the Middle East have been fighting uphill battles to reform and open up their political space.  Some governments have conceded to local demands for partial reform and relaxed political control and the advent of the internet and satellite television have provided additional safe space for emerging civic networks.

Given the considerable interest that the United States has in democratic progress in the Middle East, it is important that positive trends continue and that the prospect for democracy be fully appreciated.  NED is holding this conference to give leading Middle Eastern democrats an opportunity to share their concerns with an American audience, and to highlight the challenges they believe lie ahead as well as their vision of the possibilities for democratic progress in the region.


9:00 – 9:30am: Keynote Address
Congressman Howard Berman, Chair, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

9:30 – 10:45am: Panel – “Toward Free and Fair Elections: Prospects and Challenges”

Ayman Nour , Head of the Egyptian El Ghad Party, former MP and Presidential Candidate
Dr. Aseel al-Awadhi, Member of Parliament, Kuwait (one of four women elected in May 2009)

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Wallerstein Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Drew University
Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution (invited)

Lorne Craner, President, International Republican Institute

10:45 – 11:00am Coffee Break

11:00am – 12:15pm: Panel – “Implementing Democratic Reform: The Role of Civil Society”

Ziad Baroud,  Interior Minister, Lebanon; Founding Member, Democratic Renewal Movement 
Musa Maaytah, Minister of Political Development, Jordan
Nouzha Skelli, Minister of Social Development, Morocco

Michele Dunne, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Ken Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute

12:15 – 1:00pm:   Lunch

1:00 – 2:00pm:  Luncheon Address
Jeffrey Feltman,  Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Near East Affairs  (invited)

2:00pm:   Adjournment