1997 Conference Programme

The West and Islam: clashpoints and dialogues

Forte Grand Hotel, Giza, near Cairo,
15 - 23 February 1997

Senior Fellows

Dr Abdel Wahab el MessiriAin Shams University, Cairo
Edward MortimerThe Financial Times


Introductory Address

Dr Ahmed Kamal AboulMagdInternational Jurist, Professor of Law, Cairo University

The pains of modernisation

Julie PolterSojourners Magazine

The Limits of Secularism

Prof John Keane University of Westminster

Religion and the state comparisons of their inter-relation in Western and Islamic societies, and of the legitimacy of the use of force

Dr Basheer NafiUniversity of Reading

Relations Between the Islamic World and the West

Mohammed Sid AhmedJournalist

What are the prospects for democracy in the Western and in the Muslim worlds?

Dr Ahmet DavutogluFoundation for Science and Arts, Istanbul;
Prof Saad Eddin IbrahimDirector, Ibn Khaldoun Centre, Cairo

Muslims in the West and non-Muslims in Islamic societies

Prof Gilles KepelInstitut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris

Advertised Synopsis

Mutual perceptions of Western and Islamic countries have been clouded through the centuries by conflicting interests with regard to religion, land, trade routes and, more recently, oil.

These inherited suspicions have been fuelled by the strategic interventions of the old imperial powers and the Cold War super-powers, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iranian revolution and other popular protests against secular regimes.

To what extent are the mutual perceptions of Western and Islamic countries out-dated, erroneous or distorted by over- simplification and caricature?

How does the growth of Muslim communities within Western societies affect mutual perceptions? Can a better mutual tolerance be developed, along with fruitful cultural and economic relations, or must there be a continuing clash of interests, or even, as Samuel Huntington has argued, "a clash of civilizations"?


Ethnic conflict in the wider Europe: Causes, preventions, and cures

Klingenthal Castle
near Strasbourg, 7 - 14 June 1997

Senior Fellow

Neal AschersonSenior Assistant Editor, The Independent on Sunday


What is unique about ethnic conflict?

H.E. Alfred CahenSecretary- General, Atlantic Treaty Association

Ethnic tension in Eastern Europe a historical perspective

Prof Norman StoneBilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Ethnic conflict and diplomacy lessons from Bosnia

Dr Mats BerdalInternational Institute for Strategic Studies, London

The uses and limits of international intervention

Sir Marrack GouldingUnited Nations Head of Peacekeeping and Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs (1986-1996), Warden, St Antony's College, Oxford

Communal violence and terrorism

Shane O'DohertyFreelance Writer, Dublin

Case study: the Caucasus and Abkhazia

Dr Viacheslav ChirikbaSpokesman for Abkhazian cause in Western Europe

Conditions for Permanent Peace

Dr Mary KaldorUniversity of Sussex

Stabilising majority/minority relations agreements between neighbour states

George SchöpflinUniversity of London

Advertised Synopsis

The collapse of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian war shattered post-Cold War optimism by reminding Europe of the deadly potential of nationalist and religious antagonisms.

The seeds of further conflict are scattered across the continent. This conference will examine the kind of ethnic or religious strife which gives rise to widespread violence and will attempt to identify warning indicators.

It will examine the options open to the international community and other outside parties in the face of such threats, including direct armed intervention, preventative deployment, or letting the fire burn out despite the human cost; and also post-conflict questions such as the maintenance of peace once restored, including the future role of peace- keeping, and the rebuilding of trust between communities.

There would appear to be a growing need to adapt current international mechanisms in these areas, which were designed for :

  • the stable environment of the Cold War and based on the rationalist precepts of
  • the Enlightenment, to the challenges of combatants whose
  • ultimate moral authority resides in tribe or faith.


Study tour of South Africa and Namibia: The challenges of political and economic reconstruction into the 21st century

Johannesburg - Durban - Cape Town - Windhoek,
31 October - 12 November 1997

Tour Leader

Sir Michael WeirDirector, 21st Century Trust


An Introduction to South Africa

Deon SealsSouth African High Commission, London

South Africa's transition: an overview

Cheryl CarolusAfrican National Congress Acting Secretary-General, South Africa's High Commissioner- designate to London

The role of black small business in the new South Africa

Phillip MachalaCEO National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (NAFCOC)
Michael LeviFormer Secretary-General NAFCOC
Leslie MaasdorpKPMG Micro-credit

Small business and rural development

Chris HöckDirector, Rural Finance Facility South African Politics and the Role of the UDM
Bantu HolomisaCo- leader, United Democratic Movement

Investment in South Africa

Moss LeokaCEO, Alliance Capital Management, South Africa, President Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce

Land Redistribution Problems and Prospects

Rev Mzamo MatheKwaZulu Natal Land Redistribution Commission

The political challenges ahead

Vasu GoundenDirector, African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes; Prof Ralph Lawrence, University of Natal
Prof Ralph LawrenceUniversity of Natal
Prof Fatima MeerThe Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Dumisa NtsebezaCommissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The economic challenges ahead

Prof Rob DaviesANC Member of Parliament; Paul Truyens, Southern Life

Women and the family in the new South Africa

Naledi PandorANC Deputy Chief Whip

The implementation of the new constitution

Pravin GordhanChair, Constitutional Affairs Committee, South African Parliament

Development in Gugulethu Township

Bulelwa Belu-ToniExecutive Director, Gugulethu Community Development Corp.

The constitution and the workings of the new democracy in South Africa

Prof Chris TapscottUniversity of Western Cape School of Government

Political and economic reconstruction in Namibia since independence

Hon Nahas AngulaNamibian Minister of Higher Education

Investment Opportunities in Namibia

A.S. AboobakarCEO, Namibia Government Offshore Development Company

Namibian Foreign Policy

Hon Theo-Ben GurirabNamibian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Advertised Synopsis

Departing from our usual conference format, this study tour will give first hand experience of South Africa and its astonishing transformation, now that initial reconstruction is underway and longer term problems and prospects are becoming clearer.

The tour will end in Namibia where there is earlier experience of such change, albeit on a smaller scale, and where the group will be joined by the Hon. Nahas Angula, Minister of Higher Education and a Fellow of the Trust.

A particular focus for study throughout will be where the balance should be struck between economic exigencies and political and social necessities.

This should be of interest to those concerned with a range of development issues, as well as those intrigued by Southern Africa specifically.

At every stage of the tour there will be pre-arranged meetings with prominent figures in politics and government, industry and commerce, rural development, and academic analysis.

Site visits will include townships, rural settlements and development projects. There will also be sight-seeing trips to the Umfolozi Game Reserve, Museum Africa, the Valley of a Thousand Hills near Durban and the magnificent surroundings of Cape Town.


1997 Fellowship Meetings

Fellowship Meeting 1: Democracy and Foreign Policy An Uneasy Relationship

Washington DC
24 - 27 April 1997


Thomas L. HughesPresident Emeritus of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
John BarkerUnited States Department of State
Melvin GoodmanFormer member of CIA, now at National War College
Sir Michael WeirDirector, 21st Century Trust

Advertised Synopsis

Liberal democracy is now the prevalent constitutional model over much of the globe.

Even regimes which reject this model usually acknowledge, if not always sincerely, that legitimacy derives from the popular will.

The adaptation of most areas of government to democratic accountability has been relatively straightforward, but foreign policy has remained a partial exception, with electorates often prepared to accept a degree of secrecy in its formulation and operation. Strong arguments exist for this.

Woodrow Wilson's call for open covenants openly arrived at, while an admirable principle for the negotiation of multinational instruments, is unrealistic where important national interests are at stake; public debate on foreign policy questions, both at and between elections, is liable to be prejudicial to good relations with other states; and the members of an elected assembly are unlikely to have much expertise in foreign affairs.

On the other hand, it seems illogical, if not dangerous, that in a democracy foreign policy should be conducted with relatively little reference to a legislature, let alone the electorate.

The conference will examine questions arising from this tension, such as how government contrives to balance popular interest against the need for discretion and compromise in diplomacy; how domestic pressures affect the conduct of foreign policy; how far such pressures should properly be resisted; and what degree of secrecy is appropriate in foreign policy.


Fellowship Meeting 2: The Media and the Public Interest in the Information Age

10 - 12 October 1997


The managerial and technological transformation of the media for better or for worse?

Adam BoultonPolitical Editor, Sky News; John Foster, General Secretary, National Union of Journalists

The new disorder in broadcasting

Mathew HorsmanMedia analyst at Henderson Crosthwaite

The internet information riches or information overload?

Monique van DusseldorpNew Media Department, Wegener Arcade, Amsterdam

Journalistic culture and the closing of the modern mind

Professor Kenneth MinogueLondon School of Economics

Hopes and fears for journalism into the 21st century (Panel discussion)

Godfrey HodgsonReuters Foundation Programme, Oxford (chair);
Matthew BishopThe Economist
Martin HillerWorld Wildlife Federation
Tim KingThe Daily Telegraph
Andrew MarshallForeign Editor, The Independent
Tomohiko TaniguchiNikkei Business

Advertised Synopsis

The last fifteen years have seen a revolution in the media industry. New technology and, in some countries, the defeat of unions have led to sweeping changes in management style and a much sharper edge in competition amongst titles.

With innovation proceeding at breakneck speed in electronic communications - satellite, cable, the Internet - this is seen as all part of "The Information Age" providers, driven on by competition and ever expanding opportunities, will give the public access to information of unprecedented diversity and quantity.

However, there is also concern that a small number of business conglomerates will make the competition so cut-throat that information will be replicated rather than diversified and that choice amongst masses of almost identical sources will be illusory.

It is argued that the public interest will suffer as journalists are over-stretched now that down-sizing is taking its toll, and editors are concerned solely about tomorrow's headlines rather than in-depth reporting or investigative journalism.

Will we as decision takers, voters, concerned citizens be better or less well informed in the 21st century?

We are grateful to the Freedom Forum European Centre for making available their premises for this meeting.