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  • News and Notes

Muslim Democrats meet in Istanbul

On April 12-14, the Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World met in Istanbul, Turkey. Created by leading democratic reformers from predominantly Muslim nations, the Congress was supported by the United Nations Development Programme, the Washington-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and the Turkish Democracy Foundation.

Delegates included former and current high officials (such as former Turkish prime minister Mesut Yilmaz, Jordanian foreign minister Marwan Muasher, and Sierra Leonean president Ahmed Tejan Kabba), parliamentarians, and civic and political party leaders from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

The meeting issued the "Platform for Democratic Governance in the Islamic World," a statement emphasizing that the Islamic principles of "tolerance, justice, and participation" may provide the foundation for democratic governance and peace. For further information and a full list of all the participants, visit

Islam and Democracy

A conference entitled "Beyond Radical Islam?" was held on April 15-18 at Michigan State University (MSU), organized by the university's Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy, and the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC). The conference addressed the distortion of traditional Muslim teachings by radical Islamists, and discussed various liberal currents within Islam.

Papers were presented by Abdou Filali-Ansary, director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at Aga Khan University in London; Ahmed al-Rahim, founding member of the American Islamic Congress; Sohail Hashmi, associate professor of international relations at Mt. [End Page 188] Holyoke College; and Mohammed Ayoob, professor of international relations at MSU. Other participants included Husain Haqqani, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies; and Hillel Fradkin, former president of the EPPC. For a complete list of participants and topics, visit

Arab Reform Bulletin

The monthly online Arab Reform Bulletin, produced by the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is now available in Arabic through a partnership with Dar Al-Watan, a Kuwaiti publishing house. Edited by Middle East specialist Amy Hawthorne, the Bulletin features analysis by Arab, American, and European experts on Middle East issues. To read past issues, or to sign up for a free e-mail subscription, visit To access the Arabic version of the Bulletin, visit

IDEA Meeting on Democracy in the Arab World

On March 25-26, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) organized a meeting at The Hague to discuss democratization in the Arab world. Bringing together government representatives, policy experts, and civil society activists, the meeting sought to increase the understanding of the possibilities for, and the challenges to, democracy-building in Arab countries. The papers and reports presented at the meeting are available at

Tyranny: Ancient and Modern

On May 14-15, the University of Chicago's John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy sponsored a conference entitled "Tyranny: Ancient and Modern." In various panels and roundtables, the speakers examined the history of the concept of tyranny and discussed its relationship to contemporary issues of human rights and foreign policy. For more information about the agenda and the participants, visit

Civil Society and Political Parties

On March 15-17 Britain's Wilton Park, in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, hosted a conference on "Achieving Sustainable Political Change in Emerging Democracies: The Political Party Challenge." Participants discussed ways of strengthening political parties and the role of outside organizations in aiding party development. The conference featured presentations by Thomas Carothers, director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment; Zainab Bangura, former coordinator of the [End Page 189] Campaign for Good Governance in Sierra Leone; and Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy. For more information, visit

Human Rights in North Korea

On February 29-March 2, representatives of governments, civil society, and human rights organizations convened in Warsaw for the Fifth International...


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