26 January 2004
Davos Launches Initiative to Foster Western-Muslim Understanding
New council will include business, cultural and political leaders
Organizers of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland
announced the creation of a new council aimed at promoting dialog
between the Western and Islamic worlds as international leaders
gathered in the Swiss resort town for the annual conference on
global economic, business and political conditions.
The Council of 100 Leaders, or C-100 as the initiative has been
dubbed, will draw together 20 leaders each from the fields of politics,
religion, business, media and opinion, according to a January 22
WEF press release from Davos.
The C-100 will engage in projects designed to foster greater understanding
and cooperation between the Western and Muslim worlds including
the support of intercivilizational dialog programs, citizen exchanges,
workshops, and cultural programs.
Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Co-Chairman of the new C-100 stated, "At
this critical moment in human affairs, there is clearly an urgent
need for the societies across both the Western and Muslim worlds
to engage in dialogue to achieve mutual understanding as the basis
for practical cooperation. At such a time, the decision of the
World Economic Forum to establish the C-100 is to be warmly welcomed
as a timely, much needed and potentially beneficial initiative."
Following is the text of the press release:
World Economic Forum Launches Initiative for dialogue, action
and understanding between the Western and Islamic World
Council of 100 Leaders to improve relations and propose concrete
actions between the two worlds
Davos, Switzerland, 22 January 2004 - The World Economic Forum
announced the official launch today of the Council of 100 Leaders.
The group aims to become the foremost community of senior political,
religious, business, media and opinion leaders to promote understanding
and dialogue between the Western and Islamic worlds. The Council
will have 20 leaders from each of the five sectors, representing
the Western and Islamic thought, and the dialogue is intended to
be a process that will engage cultures and societies at all levels
along three core stands - dialogue of discourse, action and experience.
It will be unique by virtue of its origins in the work and strengths
of the World Economic Forum.
The Council will be co chaired by Lord Carey of Clifton, Former
Archbishop of Canterbury, United Kingdom, and HRH Prince Turki
Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and
Islamic Studies, Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at the launch, Lord Carey said, "We've come to see
one another not as enemies, but as friends and colleagues on a
journey together. We want to get over the geographical; we want
to overcome the clash of civilizations; we want to focus on what
we can do together to make this a better world."
"At this critical moment in human affairs, there is clearly
an urgent need for the societies across both the Western and Muslim
worlds to engage in dialogue to achieve mutual understanding as
the basis for practical cooperation. At such a time, the decision
of the World Economic Forum to establish the C-100 is to be warmly
welcomed as a timely, much needed and potentially beneficial initiative" added
HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud.
The C-100 will provide a platform for project-based concrete action
aiming at strengthening the ties between Muslim and Western Societies.
Welcoming the setting up of the Council, Professor Klaus Schwab,
Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum said "In a
world of globalization, there is a particular need for cultures
and religions to communicate openly in order to pave the way for
The process will look especially to the pragmatic dynamism of
the business community as a powerful aid and model for enabling
the positive advances in development which it is intended to achieve.
It will also conduct a discourse on some of the most critical
issues that impede mutual understanding on the basis that we need
to understand each other's discourse without trying to define it.
In pursuit of these objectives the C-100 has decided to develop
specific projects in four areas:
1. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
An information clearing house and news service will aim to enhance
effectiveness through greater awareness and better information
about the many cross-cultural, interfaith and intercivilizational
dialogue centers and projects that are underway.
A Media and Film Initiative will engage the media, film and documentary
makers in projects and productions exploring Islamic-Western understanding
and the challenges that are faced.
Educational cultural and professional exchanges will be promoted
at all levels with a particular concern to reach out to those not
normally drawn in to existing programmes and dialogue.
3. DIALOGUE OF DISCOURSE
Workshops with focused groups drawn from key constituencies central
to inter-civilizational issues. They will engage with issues ranging
from the sources of misunderstanding and conflict through to such
issues as participation and good governance.
A track within the WEF meetings for consultation with government
and corporate leaders to address their most pressing concerns in
the area of inter-civilizational issues.
A program of consultation and promotion of our shared values and
the Global Ethic. This will focus on particular applications ranging
from good governance and corporate responsibility through to the
Millennium Goals and Rights based approaches to development. It
will also embrace issues presented by the social and medical crises
of our time including HIV-AIDS.
A program to promote the values of cooperation and understanding
though Service announcements and leading sporting celebrities at
major international sporting events.
A project with major museums to develop a traveling exhibition
on the theme of past periods of notable cross-civilizational cooperation.
This will use the latest resources of Information Technology.
A program involving the many members of the WEF who are engaged
in the worlds of culture and the arts in inter-civilizational issues
through the C-100 at Annual meetings.
Charter for an Initial Three-year Mission.
In the first instance, a three-year time frame will apply to the
C-100 process but it is expected to launch the first phase of initiatives
by the time of the upcoming meeting of the Forum in Amman, Jordan
in May. It is hoped that Council members, who shall serve at the
invitation of the World Economic Forum, will be able to serve for
the full three-year period and that they will be able to commit
to serious involvement with each strand of its work.
Additional participants from all sectors have expressed interest
and we are working with them. In addition it is expected that many
more organizations and individuals will be involved than simply
the members of the C-100 itself.