Conference aims to promote positive outlook on the future of Middle East

A poster for the Yale Arab Conference, depticting Arabic words of hope.
The poster for the inaugural Yale Arab Conference.

An international conference on the Middle East, featuring a keynote address by Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, will take place at Yale on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21.

Titled “Amalna: Paving the Road Ahead,” the conference will be held in Rm. 114 of Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect St. It is organized by the Yale Arab Students Association and sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President and Secretary for Student Life, the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, Yale Council on Middle East Studies, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale College Council, and the Office of International Students and Scholars.

The aim of the conference, according to the organizers, is “to promote a positive outlook on the future for the Arab world — to show our hope (amalna) for a region that can thrive despite the violence and destruction so often associated with it.”

Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, will deliver the keynote address at the conference.

The primary objective of the conference is to enhance the Yale Arab Students Association’s role as a campus and region-wide platform for engagement between Yale and the Arab world. The multidisciplinary conference will feature experts, decision-makers, and leaders from the fields of foreign policy, higher education, migration, innovation, youth empowerment, culture, public policy, public health, and women’s rights.

In addition to Fayyad’s keynote address, the conference will consist of three panels: “Women’s Rights: Beyond the Stereotyped Arab Woman,” “America’s Role in the Middle East,” and “Refugees: Paths for Engagement.” Panelists scheduled to attend include former U.S. ambassadors Robert S. Ford and Ryan Crocker; Maya Alkateb-Chami, managing director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia University Law School; writer Ahmed Badr; artist and architect Mohamad Hafez; and New York Times reporter Mona El-Naggar, among others.

Associated activities will include a screening of the documentary “Soufra,” followed by a virtual question-and-answer session with the director, Thomas Morgan; a multicultural festival; a Lunch with Speakers series; and an art exhibition by Hafez.

The conference is free and the public is invited; advance registration is required. For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit the Yale Arab Students Association’s website.