In the world today, there are serious misunderstandings between the West and Islam as well as within Islam itself. Moreover, there is a profound need for visionary Muslim responses to contemporary political, economic, and technological challenges. At the same time, both Muslims and non-Muslims have sometimes failed to recognize the contribution that Islamic thought can make to humanity, and to the development of Islamic societies that are both progressive in their internal governance and cosmopolitan in their external relations. To achieve these ends, however, sustained transnational collaboration among leading Muslim thinkers and practitioners is needed. Significant support is required to accelerate dialogue, to create multiple forums in Islamic as well as Western nations, and to foster practical new ideas and policy proposals. Policymakers need to recognize the historical diversity of Islamic thought and to become more aware of the potential for affirmative Islamic responses to contemporary conflicts and dilemmas.

This initial symposium seeks to initiate a dialogue amongst scholars of Islam, education specialists, and experts on governance and public policy. With the participation of leading intellectuals and policy makers, the two-day symposium is designed to promote intellectual engagement and civic commitments. It will address a number of themes that are of particularly critical importance to today’s Muslim societies.


Wednesday, 25 June, 2008

Chair: Amb Paul Heinbecker, Distinguished Fellow, CIGI

08:30 – 9:00    Welcome and Opening Remarks

Representative of the Speaker of the House, Parliament of Canada

Executive Director, CIGI

09:00 – 11:00  Session 1:  The Islamic Intellectual Heritage in a Contemporary Global Context

11:15 – 13:15  Session 2:  Modern, Democratic, and Muslim: Toward a Culture of Civic Participation

14:30 – 17:00  Session 3: National and Global Citizenship in the Muslim World: Pedagogical Challenges and Opportunities

Thursday, 26 June, 2008

09:00 – 11:00  Session 4: Canada and the Islamic World: Enhancing Understanding and Building Peace

11:15 – 12:15  Session 5: Action Plan and Proposals for Cooperation 14:30  Closing Remarks and Press Conference


Event Speakers

Photo of Bessma Momani, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Bessma Momani

CIGI Senior Fellow

Bessma Momani is a senior fellow, joining CIGI in 2004. She has a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on international political economy, and is professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the University of Waterloo. She is a 2015 fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and a Fulbright Scholar. 

Hany Besada

Former CIGI Senior Researcher and Program Leader
Photo of Paul Heinbecker

Paul Heinbecker

Former CIGI Distinguished Fellow

With a distinguished career in Canadian diplomacy — including posts as ambassador to Germany, permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) and adviser to various prime ministers, Paul Heinbecker is one of Canada’s most experienced commentators on foreign policy and international governance. Paul is also the director of the Centre for Global Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University.

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