This House believes that Arab Governments are not interested in genuine reform

Wednesday October 13 2004


Saad Eddin Ibrahim

Speaking for the motion

Saad Eddin Ibrahim is a renowned human rights activist and professor of Political Sociology at the American University in Cairo. He is also the founder and director of the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies, an institute committed to the promotion of dialogue, democracy and development in the region.

In June 2000, Dr. Ibrahim and many of his colleagues at the Ibn Khaldun Centre were arrested and tried before a state security court on several charges allegedly connected to their work. Dr. Ibrahim was sentenced to seven years imprisonment but in March 2003, Egypt's high court acquitted him and his colleagues of all charges.

Dr. Ibrahim received his PhD from the University of Washington (1968) and has authored, co-authored and edited over 35 books in Arabic and English. Some of his hundred scholarly articles have been translated into as many as 13 foreign languages.

He is the recipient of many awards, including the Kewit Prize in Social and Economic Sciences (1985), the Jordanian Order of Independence (1990), the German Fredrich Schiller University Prize for International Understanding (2001), the Freedom House award for Defending Democracy and Human Rights (2002), the Lawyers Committee for Defense of Human Rights (2002), the American Social Sciences and Freedom (2003). He was also awarded honorary decorates form the New School University (2003) and the University of Washington (2003).


Hussein Shobokshi

Speaking against the motion

Hussein Shobokshi is President of the Hussein Shobokshi Organization - a leading research and consultancy house in Saudi Arabia representing Gallup. He is also a board member of the Mecca Chamber of Commerce and was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum.

A columnist for various Arab publications including Alsharq Alawsat and Arab News, he has also written for Okaz, Al Hayat, Nahdet Masr, Al Ahram, and Al Madina. He has made appearances on the BBC, CNN, Orbit and Abu Dhabi TV just to name a few and until June 2003 was presenting his own weekly show on Al Arabiya (Al Taqreer).

He has just published his first book, which is a collection of some of his articles.


Rime Allaf

Speaking for the motion

Rime Allaf is a writer, broadcaster and consultant on Middle East affairs, and is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London (Chatham House). In her analysis and commentaries in international media, she mainly covers the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Syria, and the geopolitical and socio-economic issues in the Arab world.

Born in Syria, she has mostly lived, studied and worked in Europe and the US. She travels regularly to the Middle East, where she recently managed a consultancy, advising foreign companies on business and political matters. She formerly wrote about British politics and international affairs for Lebanon's Daily Star Newspaper.

She studied Political Science in Switzerland before acquiring an American B.A. in Management and a M.A. in Marketing. She has been trilingual in English, French and Arabic since childhood, and also speaks Spanish, German and Italian.


Adel Darwish

Speaking against the motion

Adel Darwish is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He has over 35 years experience reporting from the hotspots of the Middle East, Africa, and western Asia and has worked for, or been published in, most of the British press, including The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist and the Middle East Magazine.

He is a frequent commentator on foreign affairs for the BBC as well as for major American and Canadian networks and some Arabic language networks such as Egyptian Radio, Nile TV and Kuwait TV.

He is the author of six books on war, terrorism, Islam, unconventional warfare and water including 'Unholy Babylon: The Secret History Of Saddam's War.'