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Library of Alexandria to host Arab reform meeting
Alexandria, 30 January 2004  -- In a major announcement made in Al-Ahram (Friday 30 January 2004) Serageldin announced that the Library was convening a major conference of Arab reformers to discuss the needed changes in the Arab World on the economic, social and political fonts. The meeting would be for civil society leaders and for writers and intellectuals, but no governments or non-Arabs would be invited. The reasons, Serageldin explained, was to cut off the arguments being expressed as to reform being a foreign agenda imposed by the West (especially the US) and that patriotic Arabs should resist these calls. Serageldin said that the Arabs must re-appropriate the reform initiative, that change was a popular demand throughout the Arab world, and that it was absolutely necessary to change in the context of a rapidly changing world. By limiting this first meeting to eminent Arabs, it would ensure that the reform agenda would be home-grown and driven by forces internal to the society. In future meetings , the circle of participants would be widened and include many others. Government officials were excluded from this first meeting to ensure maximum leeway to discussion. One outcome of the event would be a declaration, but much more importantly, a follow-up mechanism. Most significantly, Serageldin was able to secure the patronage of President Mubarak for this event. The President said that all opinions were welcome, and that any constructive criticism that led to improvement in Egypt and the Arab world would be well-received. The meeting is to be held on March 12-14. No dates were set for the follow up meetings implicit in the format. A preliminary background paper is circulating (see draft).
The Library of Alexandria P.O. Box 138 – Chatby, Alexandria 21526 , Egypt     Phone: +(203)-4839999 Fax: +(203)-4820450   Email: