Liwa hosts think tank on relations between Muslim world and West

Arab youth, regional changes and relations between the Muslim world and the West are topics on the agenda.

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DUBAI // Public officials and intellectuals from across the region, the US and elsewhere are gathering in Liwa today to discuss Arab youth, regional changes and relations between the Muslim world and the West.

The Abu Dhabi Gallup Centre, which is hosting the two-day forum, will present findings from a 45-country survey, the Muslim-West Perceptions Index.

"Our goal for this forum is to generate new solutions to the most difficult issues related to Muslim-West relations," said Dalia Mogahed, the director of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Centre.

"This year marks a turning point in history. From Manhattan to Mohamed Mahmoud Street, it has never been more vital to understand the aspirations of ordinary people."

Participants include public figures such as Esraa Abdel Fattah, the Egyptian activist nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year; government officials such as Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani of the Supreme Education Council of Qatar; and business leaders such as Fadi Ghandour, the chief executive of the Jordanian company Aramex.

Some are practitioners and academics, including the recently appointed UAE Ambassador from the Libyan interim government, Aref Nayed, who was a long-time theologian.

Angela Migally, a rights lawyer from the US and board member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association, said she looked forward to exchanging ideas on how to improve citizen participation in the Middle East.

Much of Ms Migally's career in the US has been devoted to that effort, and now she is working with peers in Egypt to push for citizen participation in the new governing structure.

"During the Gallup Forum I hope to share strategies and learn from others who support the very important values of government for the people," she said.

Those attending will form working groups to analyse survey data provided by Gallup and provide policy recommendations.