Expert Panel to Discuss Obama Strategy’s Influence on Democracy & Human Rights in the Middle East

Washington, DC A June 30 luncheon panel discussion hosted by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stifung (FES) will tackle tough questions related to President Obama’s multilateral engagement strategy and how it influences democracy and human rights in the Middle East. Panelists for the event include Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks, renowned Egyptian human rights leader Bahey Eldin Hassan, and the National Security Network’s Heather Hurlburt. Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State, will offer opening remarks and Knut Panknin of the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation will serve as moderator.

Since his inauguration, the Obama Administration has taken important steps to strengthen U.S. engagement with multilateral institutions, with an eye toward enhancing U.S. capacity to support human rights.  As President Obama stated in his recent speech at West Point, “America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of cooperation we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice.” Among other steps, the administration has re-engaged with the UN Human Rights Council, resulting in some modest successes.

Even so, additional questions remain for this agenda of multilateral engagement. During this event, panelists will address these questions, include the following key questions:

  • What are some of the challenges and opportunities ahead for the U.S. in the Human Rights Council?
  • What can be done to re-energize slumbering institutions like the Forum for the Future, and the human rights organs of the Arab League and OIC?
  • Can the U.S. find ways to engage with or support Euro-Mediterranean regional institutions with the goal of strengthening rights and democracy clauses?

This event is open to reporters. Lunch will be served. For more information or to RSVP, please visit To arrange an interview with Neil Hicks, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at 202-370-3323.

WHAT: Panel Discussion “Obama’s Multilateral Engagement: What Does It Mean for Democracy & Human Rights in the Middle East”

Bahey Eldin Hassan, General Director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Neil Hicks, International Policy Advisor, Human Rights First

Heather Hurlburt, Executive Director, National Security Network 


Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State


Knut Panknin, Program Officer, Friedrich Ebert Foundation

WHEN: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 12:00-2:00 PM
WHERE: SEIU Building, 1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW 1st floor, Washington, DC

Published on June 28, 2010


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