Al Arabiya Global Discussions to tackle Islamophobia and CVE

Regional diplomats, political analysts, leading academics and journalists to descend on Dubai for two-day forum

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Topics tackling the rising issue of Islamophobia after recent comments by U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and discussing the effectiveness of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies after the recent Paris attacks are set to dominate the agenda at the second Al Arabiya News (English) Global Discussions Forum.

Regional diplomats, political analysts, leading academics and journalists are set to descend on Dubai for two-day forum, which starts tomorrow.

Four ‘Global Discussions’ on topics ranging from the War on Terror to how ISIS is portrayed in the media will be part of the invite-only forum. It will also include Q&A sessions and special panels.

The first Global Discussion is entitled “15 years of the war on terror: much was said, but what was achieved?”.

The panelists will be: Nathaniel Tek, regional spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State; Brooklyn Middleton, a U.S.-based Political and security analyst; and Julien Hawari, co-CEO at the Mediaquest publishing house.

It will be moderated by Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief – Al Arabiya News (English).

“There is a gap in understanding between the Arab world and the West – you only have to look at the rhetoric of the U.S. Presidential race to realize that,” said Abbas.

“This event looks to narrow that gap – just as Al Arabiya’s English service has successfully done in the years since its launch.”

The first Global Discussions Forum was held in November 2013 to mark the relaunch of the Al Arabiya English website.

This week’s event will include a panel session entitled “Cairo Speech 2.0: what should the next U.S. President’s regional policy be?”. Guests include: Ali Khedery, a former U.S. diplomat in Iraq; Joyce Karam, Washington Bureau Chief at the Al Hayat newspaper; Hesham Melhem, Consultant at the Al Arabiya News Channel in the U.S.; and Mishaal Gergawi, Managing Director of the Delma Institute in the UAE.

It will be moderated by Adrian Monck, Head of Public Engagement at the World Economic Forum.

A special question-and-answer session, with the subject “Digital diplomacy: Breaking barriers one tweet at a time”, will then be given by Tom Fletcher, former UK ambassador to Lebanon.

The third Global Discussion is under the theme “ISIS – a brand built by the media?”.

The four panelists are: Caroline Faraj, VP of Arabic Services at CNN in the UAE; Dr Abeer Najjar, Associate Professor at the American University of Sharjah; Dr Majid Rafizadeh, President of the International American Council; and Dr Azeem Ibrahim, RAI Fellow at Mansfield College at the University of Oxford in the UK. That session will be moderated by Nadia Bilbassy-Charters, Washington Bureau Chief at the Al Arabiya News Channel.

The fourth Global Discussion – “Good Muslim/Bad PR, Bad Muslim/Good PR: How can we get more moderate voices heard?” – will include: Sunil John, CEO of Asdaa Burson-Marsteller; Faisal Al Yafai of The National Newspaper; Eissa Bougari, co-founder of 3 Points Advertising in Saudi Arabia. It will be moderated by Hassan Fattah, a Partner at Brunswick in the UAE.

A special Q&A Session - “Mars mission 2020: One small step for the UAE, one giant Leap for the Arab World” – will then be given by Saeed Gergawi, Researcher at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai.

The high-level forum will then conclude with the final voting in the Al Arabiya News (English) Cross-Cultural Communication Award.

Readers of this website, the English-language service of the Al Arabiya News Channel, earlier this month voted for the four individuals whom have done the most to bridge the gap in understanding between the Muslim world and the West.

The overall Cross-Cultural Communication Award will be announced on Thursday 16 Dec., the culmination of the Al Arabiya News Global Discussions Forum.

The event will also include a gala dinner in honor of the participants to be held at the brand new St. Regis Dubai.

Internationally acclaimed businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group and an Al Arabiya News columnist who has recently made global headlines after withdrawing his earlier endorsement for U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump will be making a key note speech at the dinner.

Full coverage of the both Cross-Cultural Communication Award and Al Arabiya News Global Discussions Forum will be available at english.alarabiya.net.