Universities: Builders of Modernity and /or Education Providers?
Date: 13-14 June 2008
Place: Bibliotheca Alexandrina Conference Center
Number of participants: 80
Organizers: Bibliotheca Alexandrina – Magana Charta Observatory - NDP
Social responsibility is at the core of the Magna Charta Universitatum. Signed by some 400 university leaders on the occasion of the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna in 1988,
University leaders meeting in Alexandria discussed whether the Magna Charta principles and values are adequate markers of their institutions’ circumstances, today or tomorrow – Observatory members acting as a reflector for the debate in so far as they share similar experience in different contexts. Participants deemed the Magna Charta relevant to their situation, in Egypt and the Middle East, some considered seizing the opportunity of the Magna Charta 20th anniversary on 18 September 2008 to endorse the document, thus comforting a community of shared academic purpose now extending all around the world.
Conflict Resolution and Culture of Peace in Egypt
Date: 29-31 May 2008 (All Day Event).
No of participants: Approx. 30 participants.
The “Conflict Resolution and Culture of Peace in Egypt” workshop was held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in partnership with the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland. The workshop was a practical application of well researched collaborative problem solving methods of dealing with conflicts including political, ethnic, religious and local conflicts. Skills building techniques for constructive engagement attitudinal prism and non-violent communication practices were presented and discussed by the participants. Other interactive activities included active listening, one minute evaluation and mediation exercise. The workshop introduced the ARIA (Adversarial Reflexive Integrative Action) methodology, a useful process for facilitating a transition by the parties from an adversarial stance in the conflict to an integrative one and discuss dynamics of integrative conflict transformation.
Sinai at the Heart of Egypt
Date: 24-25 May 2008
The BA Specialized Advisory Committee for History, Geography, and Antiquities held a Seminar entitled “Sinai at the Heart of Egypt”, 24 and 25 May 2008. Speakers were Mohamed Bassiouny, Former Egyptian Ambassador to Israel; Dr. Ishaq Obeid, Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University; Dr. Hassan Nafaa, Professor and Chairman of the Political Science Department, Cairo University; Dr. Fathi Abu Ayanah, Professor of Human Geography, Faculty of Arts, Alexandria University; and Dr. Abdelhalim Nureldine, Professor of Ancient Egyptian Language, Faculty of Archeology, Cairo University.
The Seminar highlighted the value of this part of Egyptian land to young people, and its treasures and resources, and emphasized means of developing this region. The Seminar’s most important theme was the idea that the development of Egypt could begin from Sinai, with special focus on historical and political dimensions including Israeli occupation of Sinai as well as Egypt's relations with its Eastern neighbors.
The Seminar issued several recommendation, including:
Pursuing the development strategy of the year 1994 in Sinai, according to President Mubarak’s vision to merge Sinai in the economic and social development plan of Egypt, and to give priority to Sinai in all developmental projects.
- Studying the experience of Egyptian investor Dr. Hassan Rateb in Sinai and establishing a research group to study natural phenomena in this region.
- Integrating Sinai with North, East, and Middle Delta.
- Attracting 3 million Egyptians by the year 2017, since Sinai’s population only amounts to half a million people according to 2006 statistics.
- Calling upon media and government to spread awareness among Egyptians on the importance of Sinai.
- Calling upon the BA to publish all research papers on Sinai to be submitted to People's Assembly and Shura Council, and to be available to decision makers.
Annual conference of the Arab Reform Initiative and release of the first report of the Initiative on the State of Reform in the Arab World
Date: 7-8 May 2008
Beacon for Freedom of Expression Conference
Language: Arabic - English
Interpretation: From Arabic to English and from English to Arabic.
The annual meeting of the Arab Reform Initiative and the launch of the first report of the initiative on the state of reform in the Arab world. This report was prepared by "The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research". It is the result of joint work of several distinguished centers that have been selected by the Arab Reform Initiative, that took the overall supervision of the various stages of this report. The report reflects the overall objective of the Initiative, which focuses on stimulating Arab research capacity to highlight the perception of the Arab region to the question of reform, its development programs and put them into effect.
The report consists of five chapters: general introduction and presentation of the methodology adopted, and of the findings, tackling the quality of these results, and then finally the executive summary and recommendations. The report was annexed with a major table for the measurement of Arab democracy (master sheet). Also it contains several detailed supplements that show the flow of work by country. This report aims at monitoring the reform status in all Arab countries included in the report.
Date: 22 April 2008
No of participants: Approx. 100 participants
Language: Arabic – English
Interpretation: English to Arabic and Arabic to English
The “Beacon for Freedom of Expression” was first introduced during a one-day conference organized by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 19 May 2003, followed by a second conference on 18-20 September 2004. The two conferences raised awareness about issues and challenges surrounding freedom of expression.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina organized the third in this series of conferences, to tackle this issues of freedom of speech and access of information, during a one-day event which was held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina conference center, on 22 April 2008.
The first session entitled "Freedom of Expression and the Law" of the Third Conference on the freedom of expression and access to knowledge, “Beacon for Freedom” was held on Tuesday, 22 April 2008 at the BA. The session was attended by Ambassador Ali Maher, Director, BA Institute for Peace Studies, Dr. Kadry Hefny, Professor of Psychology, Ain Shams University and Psychiatrist Maged Morris, and chaired by Mervat Farag, TV Presenter. Speakers stressed the importance of freedom of expression and the need to reconsider the laws governing freedom of expression and access to knowledge. They added that the freedom of expression requires self-respect and respect for others. Speakers also spoke about the positive outcome of individual-government interaction in an atmosphere of freedom of expression, since it is the best way to reach the truth or formulate sound strategies essential for any democratic political system.
The Fifth Arab Reform Conference “Media, Democracy and Social Responsibility” |
Event’s Title: The Fifth Arab Reform Conference “Media, Democracy and Social Responsibility”
Date: 2 - 4 March 2008 (All Day Event)
No of participants: Approx. 500 participants.
No. of Countries: 19 Arab countries.
Interpretation: English to Arabic and Arabic to English
The Arab Reform Forum organized the Fifth Arab Reform Conference in the BA, 2-4 March 2008 entitled “Media, Democracy and Social Responsibility”. The Conference was a continuation of the BA efforts in disseminating awareness on the limits of freedom of expression and what it entails to protect individuals and beliefs, as well as the relationship between democracy and freedom of the press and the rights of citizens, while shedding light on the role of civil society and efforts exerted to improve the living conditions of future generations.
The Conference addressed the following themes: limits on freedom of expression (protecting the individual and protecting religious beliefs); the relation between democracy and freedom of press (complete freedom, bounded freedom, and what are the limits of the boundaries?); the right of citizenship, the right of the society in dealing with minorities and vulnerable groups within the society; and the development of media techniques, participation of civil society, and democratic practices.