The Middle East Program and the former Conflict Prevention Project established the Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative in April 2003, to focus on the substantial role women can and should have in building a new Iraq. This webpage provides information about the workshop series, publications for download, and links to relevant resources.
The June 26 meeting presented a reversal of the overarching conclusion of last year's conference that the election of President Ahmadinejad would not significantly affect Iran's path of reform. This underestimation was addressed with a discussion of the recent developments and trends in Iran. The first panel featured a discussion of the national political and socio-economic situation as well as a presentation on the power of the local democratic establishment in Iran. Speakers addressed the real versus perceived command capacity of President Ahmadinejad, the fruition or failure of his socio-economic policies, and the seeming reversal of local democratic reform under his administration. The second panel focused on Iran's foreign policy drivers, options, and goals. Speakers touched on Iran's historical and strategic ambitions in the Caspian region as well as its relations with Europe and the United States. They discussed Iran's attempt to secure itself economically and the strategic determinants steering the country's actions and overtures.
Recent events in the Middle East, including Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and the results of Israeli and Palestinian elections, generated varied reactions among panelists at a May 10 conference, which featured current and former government officials from the region. This was one of several recent meetings to discuss the unfolding situation.
Public Policy Scholar Aaron David Miller describes the bleak environment encompassing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what the United States can do in the meantime.
In this conference, speakers discussed progress toward the empowerment of women in the Middle East and North Africa. The first panel examined the status of women in a select number of countries in the region, focusing on women's rights and civil society, and examining developments in women's political participation and legal rights. The second panel focused on the experiences of women in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
Following the Hamas victory in Gaza and in advance of the March 28 Israeli elections, the Wilson Center hosted a Director's Forum to gauge Israeli, Palestinian, and Egyptian views on future prospects. The Israeli and Egyptian ambassadors, and the head of the PLO Mission, to the United States engaged in a spirited debate over opportunities for peace.
Journalists and academics from around the world convened to discuss the state of reporting in their respective countries. Panelists discussed journalist's access to, and freedom to disseminate, information and the media's impact on public opinion and policy.
On Wednesday, September 28, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan will deliver a speech at the Wilson Center titled "Religion, Globalization, and Democracy." RSVP for this event.
The experience of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban, in Iran in the early days of the Islamic Republic, and now in Iraq, is a reminder that while considerable progress has been achieved in the area of women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa, reverses are always possible.