Welcome remarks by Kevin Watkins - Executive Director, ODI
Introduction by Kofi Annan - Former UN Secretary-General, Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders
Lyse Doucet - Chief International Correspondent, BBC
Lakhdar Brahimi - Elder, former Algerian freedom fighter, Foreign Minister, conflict mediator and UN Diplomat
Joost Hiltermann - Programme Director Middle East and North Africa, Crisis Group
Hina Jilani - Elder, pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner
Sara Pantuliano - Managing Director, ODI
Closing remarks by Marta Foresti - Managing Director, ODI
The Middle East continues to be the crucible for numerous global crises but the international community has yet to develop an effective mode of engagement. In Syria, a conflict that started as a civil war is now fuelled by external actors while civilians on all sides suffer. Sectarian tensions are growing across the region, not least between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with a knock-on effect on human rights abuses, acts of terror and rising numbers of refugees and internally displaced people. Meanwhile nearly 50 years after the Six Day War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict endures despite the Oslo and US-led peace processes.
This event co-hosted by ODI and The Elders explores the rights and responsibilities of actors in the region and beyond. Is the current international architecture of multilateral institutions robust enough to engage meaningfully with shifting dynamics among regional powers? What space exists for civil society to protect peace and human rights? What would force political leaders in the region and elsewhere to find the necessary courage to tackle the root causes of conflict and set aside national interests for the greater good?