Thursday, September 25, 2008

A New Approach to U.S. relations with the Muslim world?

The New York Times yesterday highlighted a new report "calling for an overhaul of American strategy to reverse the spread of terrorism and extremism." Here's an excerpt:

The report recommends more diplomatic engagement, even with Iran and other adversaries, and a major investment in economic development in Muslim countries to create jobs for alienated youth. It calls on the next president to use his Inaugural Address to signal a shift in approach, to immediately renounce the use of torture, and to appoint a special envoy within the first three months to jump-start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The report, “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World,”; was produced by 34 leaders drawn from religious, business, military, foreign policy, academic, foundation and nonprofit circles. The group included Democrats like Madeleine K. Albright, who was secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, and two former Republican congressmen, Vin Weber and Steve Bartlett.

This comes just 2 days before we are set to hold our first of five Beyond Belief student conferences in partnership with Americans for Informed Democracy, an amazing organization committed to "empowering young people in the United States to address global issues—poverty, health, climate change, peace and security—through awareness-raising and actions that promote just and sustainable solutions on their campuses, in their communities, and nationally."

These conferences, made possible by The Fledgling Fund, will be major part of our ongoing outreach campaign to bring the film's message of cross-cultural understanding and citizen diplomacy to a wider audience.

Here's a quick clip from Beyond Belief that demonstrates the power of dialogue to break down cultural boundaries...

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