The News Service
25th Journal/Brown Public Affairs Conference
Experts To Discuss ‘Democracy in Middle East: Is It Possible?’
Scholars, journalists and international experts will gather at Brown University April 3 and 4, 2005, for the 25th annual Providence Journal/Brown University Public Affairs Conference titled “Democracy in the Middle East: Is It Possible?” The keynote address, a Stephen A. Ogden Jr. ’60 Memorial Lecture, will be delivered by Saad Eddin Ibrahim, former Egyptian political prisoner and advocate for democracy and human rights. All sessions are open to the public without charge.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a former political prisoner in Egypt and now one of the Middle East’s best-known advocates for democracy and human rights, will deliver the keynote address at the 25th annual Providence Journal/Brown University Public Affairs Conference.
The two-day conference, Sunday and Monday, April 3 and 4, 2005,
will focus on the question, “Democracy in the Middle East: Is It
Possible?” Both sessions – Ibrahim’s keynote Sunday at
Ibrahim’s address is being presented by the University as a Stephen A. Ogden Jr. ’60 Memorial Lecture on International Affairs.
“The elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and among the Palestinians, as well as plans for multiparty elections in Egypt, have stirred a new debate about whether democratic institutions and a culture of freedom can take root in the Middle East,” said Michael Chapman, vice president for public affairs and University relations at Brown. “The possibility of democratic reform in that part of the world is arguably the most strategically important issue on America’s foreign policy agenda, and it is one that will confront us for many years to come.”
“We are fortunate to have at this year’s conference a group of experienced and very interesting people from both the Middle East and the United States to debate this question,” Chapman continued. “They will bring to our community an array of informed perspectives, both personal and intellectual, about whether democracy is really possible in a region that has, so far, resisted the spread of democracy that has extended to most other parts of the world.”
Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Keynote speaker Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a sociologist by training, is a vocal critic of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His published criticism and his activities as a sociology professor at the American University of Cairo and founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies led to his indictment and conviction of defamation in May 2002. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and had served nearly one and a half years before Egypt’s highest criminal court reversed his conviction.
Ibrahim is now a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., speaking and writing on Egyptian political affairs and working on a project titled “Egypt’s Transition from Dictatorship.” He remains professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo and chairman of the board of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies.
The Panel Discussion
The conference continues Monday, April 4, with a panel discussion on democracy in the Middle East at 6:30 p.m. in the Salomon Center. Panelists will include:
The Stephen A. Ogden Jr. ’60 Memorial Lectures
Since 1965, the Ogden Lectureship has presented the University and its neighboring communities with authoritative and timely addresses about international affairs.
Stephen A. Ogden Jr., a member of the Brown class of 1960, died in 1963 of injuries sustained in an automobile accident during his junior year. The Ogden family established the lectureship to achieve what Ogden had hoped to accomplish through a career in international relations: the advancement of international peace and understanding.
As the University’s most distinguished lectureship in international affairs, the Ogden Lectures have brought many heads of state, diplomats and other observers of the international scene to Providence. Current and former heads of state have included King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, Mario Soares of Portugal, Carlos Salinas of Mexico, Shimon Peres of Israel, Mikhail Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union, Ragnar Grímsson of Iceland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Valery Giscard d'Estaing of France, Bettino Craxi of Italy, and others.
Providence Journal/Brown University Public Affairs Conference
The Providence Journal/Brown University Public Affairs Conference was originally conceived as a single lecture to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Journal in 1980. At their first meeting, however, the conference founders – Michael P. Metcalf, chairman and publisher of the Providence Journal Co., and Howard R. Swearer, 15th president of Brown University – immediately expanded the original lecture idea to a three-day symposium featuring national experts.
The Public Affairs Conference was intended to be a contribution to public discourse in Providence and Rhode Island by presenting distinguished and informed commentators on issues of public concern. Recent conferences have considered Homeland Insecurity: The Changing Face of Immigration (2004); A Time of Great Consequence: America and the World (the United States as the lone superpower, 2003); The City: No Limits (2002); and The Dignity of Children (2001).
Democracy in the Middle East: Is It Possible?
4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3, 2005
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, democracy and human rights activist, former political prisoner in Egypt
6:30 p.m. Monday, April 4, 2005
Joshua Muravchik, resident scholar, the American Enterprise