Yale Workshop Set Framework for U.S.-Muslim Summit

To set in motion a fruitful dialogue between the Muslim world and the United States — which President Barack Obama promoted at an address at Cairo University last June — Yale Divinity School hosted a planning meeting on Feb. 22-23 for a summit to be held at Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina in June.

Several dozen scholars, policymakers, activists and public figures, equally divided between Americans and residents of Muslim countries, attended the meeting at Yale. The gathering included a series of plenary and discussion sessions and a concluding presentation, all intended to help formulate the framework for the conference in Alexandria and to articulate specific issues for ­consideration.

Sessions addressed such topics as the use and abuse of religion; searching for common ground; and developing creative and concrete actions to implement a New Beginnings initiative. Participants also explored ways of achieving common goals through dissemination of knowledge, improving access to information, using new technologies and investing in culture.

Among the organizers of the Yale workshop were Ismail Serageldin, executive director of the Library of Alexandria and initiator of the event, who delivered the keynote address; Harold Attridge, the Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School; Sallama Shaker, visiting professor of Middle East and Islamic studies at Yale; and Joseph Cumming, director of the Reconciliation Program at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

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