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Part IV: Media - A Catalyst for Change

June 11, 2009

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Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas Festival

ISLAM IN EUROPE Insult: Fractured States? is a three-evening symposium on June 9, 10, and 11 that gathers prominent, cross-sector speakers from diverse disciplines and the Muslim diaspora to share country-specific perspectives on Muslim communities integration in European society.

In five events, ISLAM IN EUROPE sets the context for and explores multiple perspectives for viewing relations between European societies and their Muslim communities. Participants will examine how different European nations and the Muslim diasporas within their borders consider immediate local issues, as well as look at the development of a Europe-wide discourse. The program also offers opportunities to bring American voices into this dialogue and is aimed at identifying opportunities for cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.

Through scholarly debate, the related voices of participants of ISLAM IN EUROPE will articulate new perspectives offering insight into the ideas that shape policy and thought.

Part I, June 9, 7:00 pm
Opening Event: How Did We Get Here?
Part II, June 10, 6:00 pm
Migration Policy, Response and Reaction: The Status Quo
Part III, June 10, 7:30 pm
Youth: The Future
Part IV, June 11, 5:00 pm
Media: A Catalyst For Change
Part V, June 11, 7:00 pm
Conclusions: Where Do We Go From Here?

(in collaboration with the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund)

Popular media images or negative stereotypes that insult or humiliate Muslim groups have been shown to be related to the polarization between Muslim and Western societies. As rapid technological advances expand media's capacity to shape our views of the world as well as each other, this panel seeks to investigate what role entertainment media (film, TV and new media) can play in improving cross-cultural understanding.

Shamil Idriss, Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, moderator

Special guest panelists include Her Majesty Queen Noor (King Hussein Foundation), Benjamin Barber (author of Jihad vs. McWorld), Emanuele Castano (The New School for Social Research, Italy/US), Mohamed El-Fatatry (, Finland), Andrea ter Avest Dahm (dramatist, Netherlands).

About Andrea ter Avest Dahm

Andrea ter Avest Dahm was born and raised in Nigeria, has a master of arts in theatre studies from Amsterdam university, and studied as an actress at Drama Studio London. While in school learning Danish in Denmark, she met many international women with stories of being treated very differently by Danish society. In 2005 she met with over 100 women living in Denmark and developed the HIJAB MONOLOGUES at the Betty Nansen Theatre together with theatre dramarurg Mette Wolf Iversen.


About Benjamin Barber

Benjamin Barber, a political theorist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and President of CivWorld (at Demos). Formerly a Professor at Rutgers University and The University of Maryland, for five years he served as an informal consultant to President Bill Clinton. Barber's books include Strong Democracy, Jihad vs. McWorld; Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole; and The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House. Barber is a regular commentator for National Public Radio's Marketplace and his blog can be found on The Huffington Post.

About Emanuele Castano

Emanuele Castano is a social and political psychologist and Associate Professor at the New School for Social Research. His areas of research include nationalism and international relations, intergroup conflict and reconciliation, and collective responsibility. He has authored papers in such publications as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, European Review of Social Psychology, and European Journal of Social Psychology. He has also contributed to several edited books, among which the Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology and Transnational Identities: Becoming European in the EU.



About Mohamed El-Fatatry

Mohamed El-Fatatry is the Founder & CEO of Muxlim, the world's leading Muslim lifestyle network focusing on a diverse range of content and services including fashion, music, entertainment, and sports among others. offers social networking, video sharing, blogs, virtual gaming, audio sharing, file sharing, and partner content (editorial). The network currently reaches 20 million visitors per year, and more than 170,000 registered users from over 190 countries with an average age is 29. Muxlim has been selected as one of the world's most successful new businesses by US-based business technology journal Red Herring.



About Shamil Idriss

Shamil Idriss is Executive Director of the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, a consortium of media industry leaders and philanthropists dedicated to using mass media to improve cross-cultural understanding and respect. He also serves as Senior Advisor to the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Idriss was appointed Deputy Director of the Alliance by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005 and has served as Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum. From 2000-2004, he served as Chief Operating Officer of Search for Common Ground (SFCG). He was appointed in 2005 to the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders Forum and in 2007 to the WEF's Global Agenda Council on International Conflict Resolution and Negotiation.




About Her Majesty Queen Noor

Her Majesty Queen Noor chairs the Noor Hussein Foundation, as well as the King Hussein Foundation (KHF), founded in 1999 to build on King Hussein's humanitarian vision and legacy in Jordan and abroad. In 2007 the Foundation launched the Media and Humanity Program to support and expand access to film and media projects that highlight shared values, rights and aspirations across social, economic, political and cultural divides, with special emphasis on the Middle East and Muslim world. During the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, Her Majesty helped launch Cinéma Vérité, an international initiative to promote socially-conscious cinema. Her Majesty is also co-founder of The Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, an initiative to promote media content that enhances mutual understanding and respect among societies and cultures.


Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas is a celebration of the extraordinary range of artistic expression in the Muslim world, co-presented by Asia Society, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and New York University Center for Dialogues during June 5 - 14.

This event is sponsored by European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC).


This event is in partnership with Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas and Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund.