The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in cooperation with the Arab League and the Anna Lindh Foundation is convening a forum focusing on media in the Arab World in the face of ongoing regional changes, and its role in relations with the West.
The forum, which opened on April 6, 2011, is being held next to Tahrir Square at the headquarters of the Arab League in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
“Reacting to historic events in the Arab region since the New Year, the forum will convene 150 policymakers, media managers, journalists, and civil society representatives from around the world to debate the impact of recent events on cross-cultural relations,” UNAOC said on Tuesday.
The UN Alliance of Civilization said the forum is built upon its Regional Strategy for the Mediterranean, adopted in Malta in 2010, which calls on governments to promote mutual understanding, improve perceptions, and bridge divides among societies, institutions and individuals in the Mediterranean region.
“Recent events on the Arab street demonstrate the crucial role tools connecting people and media play in the region. The UNAOC is committed to fostering public conversations on this and to ensuring that both media and governments do their utmost to encourage cross-cultural interaction and learning between citizens across borders,” Marc Scheuer, UNAOC Director said.
The main plenary debate at the forum is being run in association with the UNAOC’s Global Experts resource, which connects journalists with top experts around the world. According to UNAOC, a number of leading commentators will speak on the role of media in the region, including Joe Klein from Time Magazine, David Ignatius from The Washington Post, Sylvie Kauffman from Le Monde, Hafez Mirazi from Al Arabiya, Gilles Kepel from Sciences Po, Jamal Khashoggi of Al Watan, and Dalia Mogahed from Gallup.
It added that a number of international dignitaries will also speak at session - including Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amre Moussa, former President of Portugal and High Representative for the UNAOC, Jorge Sampaio, and André Azoulay, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation and Counselor to the King of Morocco.