Al Jazeera Forum is the flagship event of Al Jazeera Media Network. It is a unique opportunity through which Al Jazeera showcases its contribution to the world of media and politics. The forum has been running for eight years and has quickly grown from a local activity gathering dozens of guest speakers to an international event bringing together hundreds of participants. Within a few years, it has become an essential part of the international conference calendar with its own flavour and reputation. The first seven editions of the forum were organized by the network’s international relations department. From 2014, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies will host this event and take it further in terms of content, format, structure and organization.
Building on the success of the last seven forums, and keeping in line with Al Jazeera Media Network’s vision to expand dialogue between intellectuals, politicians, policy makers and media experts to provide in-depth understanding of developments around us, this year’s annual forum will discuss the trajectories of and obstacles to change in the Arab world since the start of the Arab revolutions.
Al Jazeera’s 8th Annual Forum will be held as Arab revolutions face formidable obstacles in their many paths to surviving the transitional phase and moving forward to build stable, free, democratic and just political systems. These sweeping changes are not confined to what has become known as the Arab spring countries, they have also impacted a number of other countries in the eastern and western parts of the Arab world and resulted in political and constitutional reforms with varying degrees of significance.
The first year of revolutions saw the overthrow of several dictators across the Arab world and was characterized by the euphoria of victory. In the second year, the zeal of elections and new political landscapes continued to characterize change, particularly given the rise of political Islam to power for the first time since the inception of the modern state, pushing liberal and leftist forces to the opposition camp. However, obstacles in the third year pitting the revolutions against serious challenges resulted in a range of outcomes from obstructions to the path of transition all the way to the toppling of new regimes and situation's relapse to pre-revolution days. In Tunisia and Yemen, actors tried national dialogue as a way to move into the future while in Egypt and Syria actors pursued revolutionary means. Thus, there is a great and evident need to review the trajectory of transitions regardless of their nature or the stakeholders involved.
Al Jazeera’s 8th Annual Forum seeks to discuss the transformations of the Arab revolutions through diverse activities, starting with a review of transition paths, followed by the identification of obstacles, and finally (among other objectives), the anticipation of the future of the Arab world and trends of change. The forum will host a wide array of scholars, experts, politicians, journalists and youth and civil society organization activists from around the world in order to create profound dialogue on the topic.
Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, along with a number of institutions within the network including Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, the Department of Public Liberties and Human Rights, Al Jazeera Net, Al Jazeera English Online and the Department of Innovation and Incubation will hold several sessions over three days. Most of the forum’s sessions will be broadcasted live on Al Jazeera Mubasher.
Previous Al Jazeera Forums
- Aljazeera Inaugural Forum (2004)
- The 2nd Aljazeera Forum (2006) - Defending Freedom, Defining Responsibility
- The 3rd Aljazeera Forum (2007) - Media and the Middle East - Going Beyond the Headlines
- The 4th Aljazeera Forum (2009) - Power, Media and the Middle East
- The 5th Aljazeera Forum (2010) - The Arab and Muslim World: Alternative Visions
- The 6th Aljazeera Forum (2011) - The Arab World in Transition: Has the Future Arrived?
- The 7th Aljazeera Forum (2013) - Arab World in Transition: Opportunities and Challenges
Previous Al Jazeera Forum High Profile Participants
- Munsif Marzuki – President of Tunisia, and Veteran Human Rights Activist
- Lula Da Silva – Former President of Brazil
- Haris Silajdžić – Former President of Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Ahmet Davutoglu – Foreign Minister of Turkey
- Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah – Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
- Thabo Mbeki- Former President of South Africa
- Salim El Hoss – Former Lebanese Prime Minister
- Ayad Allawi – Former Iraqi Prime Minister
- Salah Abdel Maqsoud – Egyptian Minister of Information
- Moustafa El-Khalfi – Moroccan Minister of Communication
- Rashid Ghannouchi – Leader of Tunisian En Nahda Party