Sheikh Fahad Al Salem Al Ali Al Sabah Gathers World Leaders for a Forum to Discuss Advancing Individual Freedoms

By Fahad Al Salem Center For Dialogue Among Civilizations And Defense Of Liberty, PRNE
Saturday, May 21, 2011

KUWAIT CITY, May 22, 2011 -

- Ten former presidents, four former prime ministers, two Nobel Prize
laureates, and other world leaders to participate

- Former President of Poland Lech Walesa, Former PM of the Netherlands
and President of the Club de Madrid Wim Kok, and Former UN Under Secretary
General Giandomenico Picco among dignitaries

Today His Highness Sheikh Fahad Al Salem Al Ali Al Sabah launched the
first of its kind two-day forum, Renewing Dialogue for Peace and Advancing
Freedom and Human Rights in Today's World, sponsored by The Fahad Al Salem
Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations and Defense of Liberty (The Center).
The forum intends to engage and introduce world leaders, renowned academics
and NGOs to a variety of issues relating to individual freedoms and
democratic values-including the importance of education and promoting citizen
journalism and advancing the role that traditional and social media can play
in this process.

(Photo: )

The Club de Madrid, an international NGO gathering more than 80 former
presidents and prime ministers from around the world, has partnered with The
Center-an NGO based in the Middle East-to host the Forum. Fifteen members are

Sheikh Fahad founded The Center to advance individual freedoms and basic
human rights issues in Kuwait, throughout the Middle East region and
globally. This passion for human rights stems from his experience during the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait when he knew he would be captured as a prisoner of

"I know firsthand what it feels like to have your have basic human rights
and freedom taken from you. It is for this reason that I have created The
Center, to help facilitate the international debate around the need to
advance individual freedoms and basic human rights," says Sheikh Fahad. "We
will focus on education to combat ignorance, which we believe is the major
threat to peace. The Center will facilitate the distribution of data,
academic studies and news reports designed to spur democratic discussions,
influence governments and civil society and inform policies that affect us

The forum brings together more than 40 high-level participants including
the former President of Poland Lech Walesa, along with other former heads of
state and prominent members of the media. These assembled world leaders,
academics, NGOs and socially-engaged citizens will debate and discuss issues
in three key focus areas:

    - Current political developments in Middle East and North Africa: an
      attempt to explain the roots of conflicts
    - Optimal strategies to prevent and overcome conflicts through dialogue
    - The role of media in advancing human rights

"I am confident this forum will place us one step closer toward advancing
human rights and will serve as a dialogue for international peace and
understanding," says the former President of Poland Lech Walesa. "I know that
programs such as these have the ability to unlock human potential and create

"It is important that this forum further empowers people to understand
the past, reconstruct the present and develop the future of today's global
community," says Former PM of the Netherlands and President of the Club de
Madrid Wim Kok. "Through this important dialogue, I am confident this forum
will help improve and educate a larger audience about individual freedoms and
human rights."

The forum engages luminaries from the spheres of foreign policy, human
rights and media to help create the necessary governance and oversight for
the Center. The discussions on the first day were led by James Hoge, Jr., the
chairman of Human Rights Watch and former editor of Foreign Affairs magazine,
and Giandomenico Picco, former UN Under Secretary General for the United

The second day of the forum will be open to the press and focus on
media's role in advancing peace and individual freedoms. The discussion will
be composed of panel participants and moderated by Joyce Barnathan, president
of the International Center for Journalists, who will provide insights into
the role media plays - particularly social media and technology in driving
education and change.

Over the next 12 months, The Center will host a "dialogue tour" in key
countries throughout the developed and developing world to further engage
world leaders, academics and NGOs to gain additional perspectives and
supporters. In addition, The Center will launch a new satellite network as
one of its key initiatives. The network will include content created by
citizen journalists.

Sheikh Fahad firmly believes that enhanced dialogue at the local,
national and global levels is the number one driver in resolving conflict,
building recovery and path forward toward advancing democratic values,
liberty and human rights in the Middle East and the larger world.

Forum participants include:

    - Kim Campbell, Former Prime Minister of Canada (1993)*
    - Wolfgang Clement, Former Minister of Economy and Labor of
      Germany (2002 - 2005)
    - Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico (2000 - 2006)*
    - Cesar Gaviria, Former President of Colombia (1990 - 1994)*
    - Alfred Gusenbauer, former Chancellor of the Austrian
      Federation (January 2007 - December 2008)*
    - Bianca Jagger (Nicaragua), Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human
      Rights Foundation, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, Member of the
      Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA,
      and Trustee of the Amazon Charitable Trust
    - Wim Kok, Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1994 - 2002),
      President of the Club of Madrid*
    - Chandrika Kumaratunga, Former President of Sri Lanka (1994 - 2005)*
    - Luis Alberto Lacalle, Former President of Uruguay*
    - Benjamin Mkapa, Former President of Tanzania (1995 - 2005)*
    - Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria (1976 - 1979 and 1999 -
    - Andres Pastrana, Former President of Colombia (1998 - 2002)*
    - Pavel Palazhchenko, head of the international department of
      the New Policy Forum (Gorbatchev Foundation)
    - Giandomenico Picco, Former UN Under Secretary General for
      the United Nations
    - Petre Roman, Former Prime Minister of Romania (1989 - 1991)*
    - Swami Sadyojathah, Director-International Affairs of the Art of Living,
      Founder/Director of Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research
    - Jorge Sampaio, Former President of Portugal (1996-2001 and
    - Jennifer Mary Shipley, Former PM of New Zealand (1997 - 1999) and Vice
      President of the Club of Madrid*
    - Cassam Uteem, Former President of Mauritius (1992 - 2002)*
    - Lech Walesa, Former President of Poland (1990 - 1995)
    - Betty Williams (IR), Nobel Peace Prize (1976) - founder
      World Center for Compassion for Children

* Members of the Club de Madrid

About The Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations and Defense of Liberty

The Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations and Defense of Liberty (the
Center) ( was founded by His Highness Sheikh Fahad Al
Salem Al Ali Al Sabah
. The Center is a Middle Eastern based NGO focused on
facilitating international discussion and debate around the need to advance
individual freedoms and basic human rights. Follow The Center on Twitter
( ) @Fahad_Center and Facebook
( ).

    Media Contacts:

    Claire Parker | +971-0508009212

    Libby Fiedler |+1-773-852-6625

    Dareen Awwad | +965-99981224


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