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Mena conference report final (1)

  1. 1. Responding to the Arab Spring:Enhancing Civil Society and Regional Intergovernmental Organisations Collaboration to Meet New Peace and Security Challenges Conference Report Organized by
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  3. 3. Page 3 Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Table of Contents Introduction Conference Online Consultations Agenda Challenges Opportunities Conclusion / the way forward Annexes List of Participants Profiles of Speakers
  4. 4. Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Page 4IntroductionSince the end of 2010, the Arab Spring has prompted the emergence of a new context; a wave ofuprisings has challenged the status quo of long standing regimes across the region. Whilst these eventshave come as a surprise to most experts and analysts, they reinforce perceptions of the interconnectednature of countries in the region. This factor serves to highlight the importance of regional actors, aswell as civil society in addressing peace and security challenges in the MENA region.As stark example of the strength of civic action and social movement, the Arab Spring has highlightedthe crucial role of civil society in challenging authoritarian regimes through nonviolent means, as wellas debunking assumptions that the nature of civil society in the region render it unable to contribute toregime change and democratisation. However, at the same time CSOs in the region are seeing howtheir political and operational space is increasingly being restricted. These restrictions and thechallenges brought against ruling regimes have showed the need for the Arab League, the Organisationof Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the AU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as regionalintergovernmental organizations (RIGOs) to spearhead multilateral approaches in mediating peaceful,nonviolent resolutions to the unrest.In the past few years GPPAC has actively worked to engage RIGOs in its work towards the prevention ofarmed conflict. As part of these efforts, GPPAC and the Organization of American States (OAS)organised the international conference Strengthening Global Peace and Security for Development. Thisevent, held in Madrid in November 2011, brought together representatives of different Regional Inter-Governmental Organisations (RIGOs) - including the Arab League and the African Union - the UnitedNations, civil society leaders and representatives of the private sector to create synergies and identifycomplementarities to promote greater peace and security.The longer-term outcomes that the conference aimed to contribute towards are: a) Increasedcooperation and exchange between RIGOs from different regions in the world; b) Increasedcooperation and exchange between CSOs from different regions; c) Increased cooperation betweenCSOs and regional and subregional organizations in their respective geographic area. Specific optionsand recommendations for follow-up action to sustain this process of exchange and ultimately build thecapacity of, and improve cooperation between, different actors were identified as follows: Increasedcapacity, cooperation and exchange amongst RIGOs & between RIGOs and the UN; Increasedcooperation and exchange between CSOs from different regions; Increased cooperation between CSOsand regional and sub-regional organizations in their respective geographic area; Continuing the processof cooperation between the UN, RIGOs and CSOs.As a follow-up to the global conference GPPAC, through its regional network the Middle East and NorthAfrica Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (MENAPPAC), organised a regional conferencecalled Responding to the Arab Spring: Enhancing Civil Society and Regional IntergovernmentalOrganisations Collaboration to Meet New Peace and Security Challenges. This conference will strive tostrengthen the relationship between local CSOs in the Middle East and North Africa and regionalintergovernmental organisations, notably the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and theOrganization for Islamic Cooperation
  5. 5. Page 5 Enhancing CS and RIGO CollaborationIn light of the challenges faced by most Arab countries due to globalization on the one hand and theinflammation of the revolutions of the Arab Spring on the other: What role is waiting for the civilsociety organizations (CSOs) considering these changes? What is the relationship the CSOs arelonging for with the regional intergovernmental organizations? What are the best ways to developthis relationship for the better? Overall, the regional conference aimed at increasing operationalspace for CSOs in which to advocate for conflict prevention and peacebuilding practices in the region;increasing attention from MENA RIGOs, and other relevant organisations, to CSOs, and connectingcivil society with policymaking on the regional and international level; institutionalising dialogueprocesses between CSOs in the MENA region and the MENA RIGOs in particular; and finally theadoption of conflict prevention and peacebuilding considerations on the political agenda of RIGOs.To identify the potential action points around which follow up actions should focus and in order toinvolve as many CSOs from the region as possible, the agenda of the regional conference was setaccording to online consultations. The suggestions of the participating CSOs were the main materialto develop a program of work and discussion for the conference. The programme consisted ofplenary sessions and group discussions. During the plenary sessions (June 16 and the first half of June17) the topics were discussed from both a RIGO/state perspective and a civil society perspective. Thegroup discussions (the second half of June 17) divided the participants and speakers according tothemes, and focused on the challenges and opportunities – formal and informal linkages – as well asthe future of the RIGO-civil society cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa.The Conference The Online Consultations:In an effort to establish the basisof a structural engagementMENAPPAC has organized onlineconsultations with CSOs toidentify the key issues andpotential action points aroundwhich follow up actions shouldf o c us . T hr o u g h th e s econsultations, held on a speciallydesigned space on the PeacePortal (,the CSOs were able todetermine the starting pointthat will shape the conference’sdialogue between the ArabLeague, and other internationalinstitutions such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, governmentrepresentatives and civil society. This dialogue is an initial step towards an action plan as well as
  6. 6. Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Page 6recommendations to improve the capacity to jointly address the critical issues of peace and security inMENA. This is crucial to strengthening the capacity of the local CSOs who work to address conflictsituations on a daily basis .The online consultations in preparation for the regional conference started on April 3rd with generalquestions regarding the work of local civil society organisations and regional intergovernmentalorganisations and the relation existing between these actors. Respondents were then asked toprioritize topics according to the needs in their societies. The selected topics will form the thread infollowing consultation sessions and the conference programme. The topics prioritized by therespondents to the online consultations were: Safe space for human rights, Tolerance, conflictprevention tools, Building Democratic Regimes andtransitional justice. There is a counter attack going on, there ‘ is a very strong counter attack going on! The Agenda: And if you look at the High Commis- sioner statement that mentions examples,Each prioritized topic was discussed with the online it goes beyond the region. Other countriesparticipants in a separate session. After 52 answers from 12 are becoming afraid of their own civilcountries in the MENA region, the agenda of the conference societies!’took shape as follows: Fateh Azzam, UNHCRPerspectives on Preventing Armed Conflict; the Role of RIGOs and CSOsThis session will explore the different and complementary roles of RIGOs and CSOs in preventingconflict, tackling conflict causes ranging from arms possession to human rights violations in the MiddleEast and North Africa. How has the League of Arab States attempted to prevent crisis outbreaks in itsmember-states? What has been the role of civil society in the Arab Spring – and in particular inensuring the peacefulness of protests? How can CSOs and RIGOs cooperate more in the future toaddress conflict causes as well as the escalation of crises?Tolerance and Co-existence through a Culture of Dialogue; the Role of RIGOs and CSOsEstablishing an open culture of dialogue and acceptance is of large importance in creating a stable country and society. The necessity of tolerance and co-existence has become increasingly clear after the Arab Spring, where uncertainty has led to inter-group struggles, polarizing the society. In the process of democratization, all groups, including minorities, are eager to ensure the respect of their rights. Peace education, creating a culture of acceptance, and fighting sectarianism are often heard terms in discussions on tolerance and co-existence. In this session the speakers will discuss ways to achieve a sustainable, increased level of tolerance through collaboration between RIGOs and CSOs.
  7. 7. Page 7 Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration In the last 25 years in the field, several attempts ofEnsuring a Safe Space for Civil Society andnetworking and helping in creating a state of coopera- Human Rights Activists tion and joint action and a power of joint work in the Without a safe space for civil society and Arab region have failed. This criticism directed to- human rights activists, it is made impossible wards the Arab League for example, must also be for CSOs to stimulate legal reforms, a culture directed towards the human rights civil society, be- of dialogue, and tolerance. But, although thecause each and every one of us is directing a stick and Arab Spring has brought more freedom in we are not prepared to hold one stick all together. some Arab countries, in many other Arab Fateh Azzam, UNHCR countries the government is encroaching upon the civil society out of fear for protests. Manyactivists therefore feel unsafe to act freely with the goal to achieve more democratic societies with arespect for human rights. How is the position on human rights currently in the MENA regionaccording to the OHCHR? How can RIGOs offer a safe space to activists?Transitional Justice and Democratization after the Arab Spring; Special Focus on the Role ofWomenTransitional justice is a core element of achieving more democratic governments, particularly aftertimes of crisis. After the Arab Spring transitional justice is necessary to ensure impunity and establisha unity in society, rather than the creation of religious and ethnic differences. Therefore transitionaljustice is important for the process of democratization and the guarantees for equality of rights. Howdoes transitional justice serve the process of democratization? And what is the status of women’srights currently in post-Arab Spring societies?Perspectives on Human Security; Protecting Citizens from Armed Violence and InstabilityThe Arab Spring and current violent clashes between governments and oppositions in the MENAhave directed the attention of governments and civil society towards the dangers of widespreadpossession of and trade in small arms. Also, with the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) being negotiatedwithin the UN framework this year this topic has gained much momentum. During this session thespeakers will discuss the issue of small arms possession and its consequences for instability and thefeeling of insecurity among citizens,taking examples from Libya, Syria, Iraqand Sudan. How does the League ofArab States coordinate governmentefforts in the region? What can theadoption of the ATT mean for theregion? How can CSOs protect thecitizens and themselves againstwidespread arms possession?Participants included CSOrepresentatives from Tunisia, Morocco,Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Yemen,Sudan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrein, Iran,Palestine, Jordan, Libya and SaudiArabia. In representation of the League
  8. 8. Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Page 8of Arab States, the Ambassadors Wael Al Assad, Director of Multilateral Relation and Disarmament andMahmoud Rashed, Director of the Department for Civil Society, participated in the event. Otherparticipants included Mr. Fateh Azzam, Regional Representative for the Middle East Office of the HighCommissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations and Mr. Galal Ali Moqbil Sallam, representativeof the legal affairs ministry of Yemen. Challenges:The topics raised throughout the conference gave the chance for the participants representing the civilsociety organizations and the representatives from the regional intergovernmental organizationsespecially the League of Arab States (LAS) to express some of the challenges facing them towards aneffective collaboration. In order to establish a relationship between the CSOs and the RIGOs, theparticipants mentioned the points below to be considered in coordination with the points raised duringthe online consultations. It unveiled stereotypes and little previous overlap and cooperation regardingwork of RIGOs and CSOs: Regarding CSOs Regarding RIGOs CSOs never send reports to the LAS about Currently, some governments see CSOs as the developments in their work political threat RIGOS like the LAS do not possess the com- Absence of group work and collaboration plete power of decision. RIGO policies de- between CSOs in the region. pend on policies of the several member- states. CSOs need to build their capacities and Media does not reflect the good work of the knowledge about human security problems LAS on human security issues and their coor- in the region to be able to plan effective dination with parts of the civil society. strategies. Every day, we hear about new human secu- No real progress of the civil society work. rity violations and problems in the region Example: coalition for Darfur which is dis- which makes it difficult to progress on the couraging for the CSOs work in general. issue. Lack of design of results oriented projects, especially in the human rights and policy making field. The work of Civil Society is It is not easy to change structures… changes mostly based on objection or slander but need time especially within organization like not on how making effective changes on the Arab League of States. the ground. This, with time, affected how the general society looks at CSO. The LAS has limited resources to start pro- Lack of resources of the CSOs from the re- jects on issues related to human security and gion to the region especially for Human human rights. Rights and human security programs.
  9. 9. Page 9 Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Opportunities: ‘We have to see the shades of greys within the governmentsThe fact that the meeting is joining actors from different levels is an and find these allies within toopportunity in itself: international actors (GPPAC), regional actors, also assist with this space thatRIGOs and local CSOs. The participants were able to detect some we want to create.’opportunities that they can build on to create a common agenda: Emad Kiyaei, IranWith the Arab Spring, the look towards Civil Society changed. The civil society is currently taken moreinto consideration.RIGOs and the CSOs work on several common issues. Ex: Nuclear Free MENA Zone, small arms and lightweapons issue, etc.Since 2001 the LAS is restructuring and more concerned about human rights, civil society and conflictresolution/prevention. They are developing departments for these issues.The LAS is trying to develop tools for conflict prevention and their presence is a sign that they are readyto cooperate.The 2 people present from the LAS are key contacts.The Arab spring was an opportunity for change in different countries that made the presence of Civilsociety easier ex: Libya.The Arab League is working on a report on human rights situation in the MENA region and ready to share the findings. CSOs are internationally recognized and referred to in order to detect public opinion. The opportunity of building coalitions is present. RIGOs and CSOs have different qualities which can complement each other RIGOs and CSOs have a different view (regional-local, governmental- nongovernmental) and access to different groups and organisationsRIGOs have connections with governments and large multilateral organisations, and the overview tofacilitate the exchange of knowledgeCSOs have the know-how and the legitimacy to operate withintheir societies, and have an important signalling function regarding conflict risks
  10. 10. Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Page 10The reality proved that the so- The way forwardciety has two wings; it cannot fly with one wing, the civil The availability of the RBF grant made this meeting possible. Thesociety and the Arab League. presence of the League of Arab States representatives gave the event Mahmoud Rashed, LAS a special character and values. They showed true intentions and effectiveness with their initiative, which gave the CSOs of the region anew drive to continue working on the prevention of armed conflict and peace-building in the area withthe hope of new collaborations for a long term impact on the region and on civil society, plus the hopeof development of the relationship between civil society and policymakers in the region with a largerproject of change. More of such grants are needed to follow up on the proposed actions from theparticipants.The final sessions of the event were focused on discussing mechanisms to enhance collaborationbetween the League of Arab States and civil society. After the discussion, the following way forwardwas agreed: In relation to the regional process of consultations and coordination between the League of Arab States and Civil Society on the regional level (Middle East and North Africa):A liaison officer was chosen to represent civil society organizations working on issues of prevention ofarmed conflicts and human security and arms control, to link between civil society organizations in theregion on the one hand and the League of Arab States on the other. It was agreed that the NetworkMiddle East and North Africa for the prevention of armed conflict (MENAPPAC), represented by theOffice of its secretariat, would be this liaison. It will continue this process of receiving concisedocuments about the attitudes and decisions of the League of Arab States relevant to raise awarenessamong civil society organizations, and update members on issues of human security and armedconflicts. In turn also provides reports and data on any activities or positions of the organizations ofcivil society to the representatives of the League of Arab States.A general secretariat has been established to adopt this conference as a regular mechanism thataddresses every year a priority theme in the region within the field of human security, conflictprevention and disarmament. The task of this secretariat is to identify the theme of the conference,time and venue, names of speakers and participants, and the method of financing. It was agreed thatthe members of the Secretariat are the Ambassador Wael al-Assad and Ambassador Mahmoud Rashedfrom the League of Arab States, Ms. Nabila Hamza, President of the Foundation for the future and Mr.Fadi Abi Allam, GPPAC’s Regional Representative and the Coordinator Middle East and North Africa forthe prevention of armed conflict MENAPPAC. In relation to the participation of the League of Arab States in the global process of cooperation between RIGOs and CSOs:The representatives of the League of Arab States expressed interest in cooperating with the GlobalNetwork for the prevention of armed conflict (GPPAC) and Middle East and North Africa Partnershipfor the prevention of armed conflict (MENAPPAC) to organize a Second International Conference on
  11. 11. Page 11 Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaborationstrengthening the cooperation between regional organizations and civil society organizations, thisconference will be the follow up to the first conference held under the same title in Madrid in 2011.The conference could be held in the second half of 2013 in one of the countries of the Middle East.The Ambassador Wael al-Assad, director of multilateral relations and disarmament in the League ofArab States showed willingness to be part of the steering group of the regional organizations and civilsociety organizations proposed during the Madrid conference, which will discuss possible options forthe creation of a permanent mechanism for coordination. The proposed date for the first meeting ofthe Steering Group is during October 2012.
  12. 12. Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Page 12List of ParticipantsName Organisation CountryFadi Abi Allam PPM/MENAPPAC/GPPAC LebanonDarynell Rodríguez Torres GPPAC The NetherlandsWael Al Assad League of Arab States EgyptMahmoud Rached League of Arab States EgyptGalal Ali Moqbil Yemeni Government YemenFateh Azzam OHCHR LebanonAbedmnam Alhur Arab Organisation for Human Rights LibyaLucy Nusseibeh Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy PalestineSidi Ethman Northern League for Development of Democ- Mauritania racy and Human RightsElie Abouaoun Arab Human Rights Fund LebanonNabila Hamza Foundation for the Future JordanSuhair Mahdi Human Security Initiative SudanGrace Ghaleb PPM/MENAPPAC/GPPAC LebanonEvaline Schot GPPAC The NetherlandsTaysir Mohmed Abdel Majed Human Security Initiative SudanHussain Alak Human Rights Activists Network Saudi ArabiaEzzadin Al Asbahi HR Information and Training Center YemenAbdou Bendjoudi Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme AlgeriaHakima Al Chawi Education Center on the HR of Women MoroccoIssa Al Ghayeb Bahrain Human Right Society BahrainIbraheem Al Hayek Partners Jordan JordanWouter Kolk IKV Pax Christi The NetherlandsEmad Kiyaei American - Iranian Council IranHazem Ksouri Free Tunisia TunisiaNasser Al Masri Kuwaiti Observatory to Root Democracy KuwaitHaggag Nael Arab Program for Human Rights Activists EgyptDhifaf Mahmood Saad Peace of Mesopotamia Organisation IraqNathalie Adam PPM LebanonRania Fazah IKV Pax Christi JordanAli Al Harby Journalist Saudi ArabiaWalid Al Sayyed Office of the National Congress Party Sudan Egypt
  13. 13. Page 13 Enhancing CS and RIGO CollaborationProfile of Speakers Abedmnam Alhur Abedmnam Alhur works through the Equity and Reconciliation national body, of which emerged a group of committee including the mediation Commission, the committee of goodwill efforts, and the Conciliation Committee. The work of these commissions is to promote national unity and reconciliation through first identifying the offender; determining the victim and the extent of harm on the victim; and then activate justice to work on repairing the harm Darynell Rodríguez Torres Darynell Rodríguez Torres is the Programme Manager Policy and Advocacy, at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, GPPAC. His work is focused on strengthening cooperation between GPPAC members and policy makers from governments, regional international organisations and the United Nations to provide inputs for shaping conflict prevention and peace building strategies. He has held different positions in the public, private and non for profit sectors including government, regional organisations and private firms specialised in political risk and public affairs. Darynells academic background includes a degree in International Studies and Political Science from West Virginia University, a Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and other postgraduate studies in the field of public policy and political management. Elie Abouaoun Dr. Elie Abouaoun joined the Arab Human Rights Fund as Executive Director in December 2011. Previously, he was a senior Program Officer at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and managed the Iraq program of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Ockenden International, an INGO that works with refugees and displaced peoples. Elie is a senior trainer and consultant and has worked with several local, regional and international organizations. He is a member of the pool of trainers of the Council of Europe since 2000 and as such regularly delivers trainings on human rights, Euro Mediterranean cooperation, and project development/management. He regularly contributes to publications related to human rights and in 2001 was part of the Reference Group established by the Directorate of Education-Council of Europe to supervise the COMPASS into Arabic and its subsequent diffusion in the region in 2003. Elie regularly writes articles for the French speaking Lebanese daily newspaper “L’Orient le Jour.” Elie is also a visiting lecturer at Notre Dame University Lebanon (teaching civil society networking and advocacy), and at Saint Joseph University Lebanon (teaching human rights and citizenship) Fadi Abi Allam Fadi Abi Allam is founding member and president of the Permanent Peace Movement (PPM), director of the Peace Building Academy in Lebanon and currently the Coordinator of the Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Prevention of Armed
  14. 14. Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Page 14 Conflict (MENAPPAC) which is acting as the MENA initiator for the Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed (GPPAC). He is a steering committee member for the (MENANSA) Middle East and North Africa Network for Small Arms and the coordinator of the Non-Violence Network in the Arab Countries. His 20 years of experience on the field enabled him to build bridges across the region to the world. Mr. Abi Allam cooperates continuously with the United Nations through his participation in the international Arms Control Campaign, lobbying to vote positively for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). From 2010 to June 2011 he furthermore was appointed as a consultant for the Minister AkramChehayeb in the Lebanese Ministry of Displaced, where he was the facilitator of the trust building and the reconciliation processes for displaced people. Fateh Azzam Fateh Azzam is currently Regional Representative for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations in Beirut. Azzam received LLM in International Human Rights Law from Essex University, Colchester, U.K. in 1992. From September 2003-2006, he was Lecturer in Political Science and Director of the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Program, American University in Cairo. Fateh was a founder and current Board Chair of the Arab Human Rights Fund and participated in human rights missions and projects by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in Syria, Algeria, Morocco and elsewhere. Past work includes Program Officer for Human Rights in The Ford Foundation office for the Middle East and North Africa in Cairo, directing al-Haq in Palestine, education and outreach at Oxfam America in Boston, and many years as a theatre performer, choreographer and teacher. His writings on human rights and theatre include Political Rights and the Practice of Democracy (Ramallah: Muwatin - Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, 1995), and articles in Human Rights Quarterly, Nordic Journal of International Law, ICJ Review, Arab Journal for Human Rights, and elsewhere. Galal Ali Moqbil Sallam Representative of Mohammad Ahmed Ali Al Mikhlafi. Dr. Mikhlafi is currently the Minister of Legal Affairs in the government of national reconciliation in the Republic of Yemen since December 2011. He holds a doctorate in private international law and is a Lawyer before the Supreme Court of the Republic of Yemen and Senior Researcher and Professor at the Center for Yemeni Studies and Research. Ambassador Al Mikhlafi is one of the founders and the former President of the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights and Member of the administrative board of the Information and Training Center as well as a member of the Yemeni Bar Association. Dr. Al Mikhlafi is an expert in the field of intellectual property and trainer in the field of human rights. He wrote and published 18 books and scientific studies on international private law and human rights, among which "Arab regional agreements as a source for the rules of international commercial arbitration" (Center for Yemeni Studies and Research) and "Change - the democratic transition in Yemen - Imperatives - Constraints".
  15. 15. Page 15 Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Lucy Nusseibeh Lucy Nusseibeh is the founder and Chairperson of Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND -, based in East Jerusalem, which has since 1998, been pioneering the promotion of awareness about the power of nonviolence, especially in the Israeli-Palestinian context. MEND promotes the principles and practice of active nonviolence among all sectors of Palestinian society, especially activists, youth, and those working in education, and especially using innovative media techniques. Since November 2007, Ms. Nusseibeh has been the Director of the Institute of Modern Media, the media arm of Al-Quds University. In addition to a BA granting media department, the Institute of Modern Media comprises Al-Quds Educational Television (AQTV www., which has worked closely with Sesame Workshop, and, a multi-media online news network focussing on Jerusalem. Ms. Nusseibeh is on the Executive Committee of the International Governance Council of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, is a member of the Humanities Advisory Council at the Fetzer Institute, and is on the editorial board of the Palestine- Israel journal. She has served as the co-chair of the GPPAC Outreach and Awareness raising Group. In 2010 she was a guest on TEDx Holy Land and spoke on “The Hitch- Hiker’s Guide to Nonviolence”. Nabila Hamza Nabila is the President of the Foundation for the Future (FFF), an independent, international non-profit organisation established in 2005. The Foundation for the Future is committed to enhancing and strengthening civil society organisations (CSOs) in their efforts to advance democracy building and human rights protection. In recognition of her significant role in the Foundation’s continuing efforts to support civil society initiatives, the Arab Pioneer and Innovators Forum granted an award to honour Nabila Hamza in November 2009. This award promoted the dissemination of information on the Foundation’s achievements as a reliable and credible partner to civil society organisations for the promotion of human rights and democracy in the region. Nizar Rammal Nizar Rammal is currently the CEO and managing director of “…for development, c.c.”, a civil company that provides workshop and training services to NGOs, international and multilateral organisations and the public sector. He has extensive knowledge and experience on conflict resolution and development, and community mobilization, and used to be a board member of several non-governmental initiatives, such as the Green Line Association and the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections. Rammal is an experienced trainer and facilitator. Sidi Ethman Ould Sheikh Malainine Sidi Ethman holds a Master degree in International Business Management and is a human rights activists and board member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR). Currently, Ethman is the Vice-Chairman of the Mauritanian branch of the AOHR, and is the regional advisor on youth community development. He is particularly specialized in active citizenship, engagement of youth, and cultural exchanges.
  16. 16. Page 16 Enhancing CS and RIGO Collaboration Suhair Mahdi Muhi El Din Ahmed Suhair Mahdi has an educational background in economics, with specialties in agricultural economics and socio-economics. Currently she works as Program Manager at Human Security Initiative in Sudan, and is Coordinator of The Sudanese Group for Democracy and Election (SUGDE) for projects on voter education, Sudanese elections, the South Sudan Referendum and electoral reform. Mrs. Mahdi’s focus in the last few years has been especially on women. Finally, she has co-researched and co-authored the publications “Small arms and community security perceptions” (MENAANSA; Middle East and North Africa Network on Small Arms), and “The Other in the Arabic Press” (The Arab Network for Tolerance). Wael Al Assad Wael Al Assad has been working within the system of the League of Arab States since 1973. He is currently the director of Multilateral Relations at the Headquarters of the League of Arab States in Cairo. In 2001 he established the Department of Disarmament Affairs in the Arab League and became its Director. He was also the Director of International Organizations Department in the League since 2000. The two departments were merged under the title of “Multilateral Relations”. He established the Governmental “Arab Committee on Drafting a Treaty on the Establishment of a Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the 57 Middle East” in 1994 and became its rapporteur since its inception. Ambassador Al-Assad has also been responsible for cooperation with the UN and other international and regional organizations since 1989. He heads the Arab league team in developing mechanisms for cooperation with international and Regional Organisations including the General Cooperation Biennial Meeting with the UN System. He has a number of published papers and articles on Security, Disarmament issues and international relations.