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Previous Dialogue Events

Environmental Peacebuilding in the Middle-East: A Euro-Arab Discussion with Desirée Custers

As part of Lutfia Rabbani’s informal discussion series, this year’s second dialogue session, held on April 4th 2019, focused on the challenges of environmental peacebuilding in the Middle East. The session brought together professionals from different organizations to share their thoughts on climate and security issues in the Middle East.

This session’s speaker, Desirée Custers, presented her experience while interning at EcoPeace in Amman, Jordan. Desirée had received a Travel Grant from Lutfia Rabbani in 2018 through which she did an internship with the environmental peacebuilding organization EcoPeace. She is currently a Master’s student of Arabic and Islamic studies at KU Leuven in Belgium. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights.

During her internship with EcoPeace, Desirée was introduced to the challenges when it comes to environmental peacebuilding and cooperation between various actors in the region, in this case, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan. As Desirée stressed, such challenges can be found primarily within the political conflicts that characterize the relationship between the involved actors which consequently impede with any environmental cooperation efforts.

During the discussion questions were raised considering this political issue when it comes to cooperating and finding solutions to environmental issues in the region as well as the role that organizations such as EcoPeace play in facilitating this cooperation and building a platform for dialogue between regional actors.

Read more about Desirée’s experience in Jordan or visit her bi-lingual blog

A Euro-Arab Dialogue with Sanaa Thabet and Salah Jubair Saddam: International Law as a Tool for Dialogue – Challenges and Opportunities

What are the opportunities and challenges for international law as a tool for dialogue?  This was the question discussed at the LRF’s  first informal roundtable of the year on January 22nd.  This session was set off by two Vreede Scholars, Dr. Sanaa Thabet and Dr. Salah Jubair Saddam who drew on their field experiences in Palestine and Iraq. Dr. Thabet,  is currently based at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tunis Al-Manar and Dr. Jubair Saddam is currently based in Karbala, Iraq.

The discussion  raised important questions related to  the source and legitimacy  of international law and international institutions,  the potential for the mobilization of communities around the principles and norms of international law, and the  politicization of international law.  The rich conversation resulted in practical recommendations to foster change and innovation in international law implementation and practice.  The importance of continued  support for young lawyers and legal scholars from the Arab world to participate  in the MOOT Court in the Hague as means to foster exchange, understanding  and education in the context of Euro-Arab Dialogue was stressed by all participants.

Read more about our Vreede Scholars and our Vreede Scholarship Programme here.

A Euro-Arab Dialogue with Laila Hourani: The Role of Migration in Arts & Culture – A connector or disconnector?

On October 3rd, 2018 the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation hosted the second round table session in our informal discussion series. With an opening speech by chairman Salim Rabbani, Program Officer at the Ford Foundation’s office in Cairo, Laila Hourani, introduced the discussion topic of whether addressing migration through Arts and Culture can be a connecting or disconnecting factor.

Laila’s grant-making at the Ford Foundation focuses on Arts, Culture and Media. In recent years, it has included support to seeding and strengthening civil society organizations engaged in sustaining the artistic productivity and cultural vitality of Syrians, memorializing the Syrian conflict and providing cultural and art education services to Syrian refugee communities. Before assuming the role of program officer in 2013, Laila worked with the Ford Foundation as a consultant. Previously, she led the development of strategy for the British Council’s arts and culture work in the Near East and North Africa out of Syria, enabling cultural exchange between Arab and UK artists in a challenging social and political climate. Over her nearly fourteen years with the British Council, Laila initiated, designed, and delivered projects in performing arts, new writing, translation, creative economy, and cultural leadership.

A Euro-Arab Dialogue with Dr. Barbara Ibrahim: ‘Trends and Gaps in Arab Philanthropy and Civic Engagement’

09/07/2018. The Lutfia Rabbani Foundation recently had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Barbara Ibrahim, Founding Director of the Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement, for a roundtable session at the Foundation’s office in The Hague. As part of the Foundation’s informal dialogue series, the discussion focused on trends and gaps in Arab Philanthropy and civic engagement and their implications for Euro-Arab dialogue. The candid discussion among a diverse group of guests, from academics to governments, business, philanthropists, NGOs, and the media, emphasized that at a time while space for civil society maybe shrinking, it is even more essential to remain proactive, optimistic and engage in genuine dialogue. Dr. Ibrahim stressed that we have to all become a little bit more risk-taking. Read more about the discussion here and watch a short video of Dr. Ibrahim’s speech here

“Palestinian Democracy and the Future of Peace in the Middle East: A Euro-Arab Dialogue”

The inaugural Mahmoud S. Rabbani Lecture Series was delivered by Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi on “Palestinian Democracy and the Future of Peace in the Middle East: A Euro-Arab Dialogue” in 2005. Dr. Barghouthi is an active participant in the building of a democratic Palestinian civil society and is a prominent leader of the Palestinian struggle. The discussion addressed the importance of Palestinian civil society and cooperation with Europe. His Excellency Mr. A.A.M (Dries) van Agt, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands joined the lecture as a discussant.

“The Peace Process: From Breakthrough to Breakdown”

In December 2010, Palestinian Roving Ambassador Afif Safieh presented a lecture on “The Peace Process: From Breakthrough to Breakdown” at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University. Ambassador Safieh is a passionate proponent of peace in Palestine and was involved in the Stockholm negotiations which led to the first official and direct American-Palestinian dialogue and has further been involved in many other aspects related to the peace process.

“Entrepreneurship: A Euro – Arab Solution?”

4/12/2015. In December 2015 the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation organized a public event at the Spaansche Hof in the Hague. During this event, the Foundation brought together Arab and European entrepreneurs and experts from the private, public and education sectors to share their conclusions and recommendations following a two-day workshop. Watch the video of the event for more information about the conclusions. You can also read our report here to know more about the topic, the proceedings of the workshop, its findings and overall significance.

“Arab future & the role of Europe: A Euro-Arab Dialogue”

27/11/2014. In November 2014 the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation organized a conference on ‘Arab future & the role of Europe’ as part of the Dialogue Platform. The conference in the Peace Palace was a gathering of Arabs and Europeans to reflect upon the Euro-Arab relationship. Under the leadership of BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet and with a keynote presentation by United Nations diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, panelists from a broad spectrum of fields addressed the challenges of political transition, economic development, education and social engagement.

Check out the programme of the 2014 Euro-Arab Dialogue Forum on the Arab Future and the Role of Europe & Watch the 2014 Euro-Arab Dialogue Forum on YouTube. Read the 2014 Euro-Arab Dialogue Forum Report.