Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Political Liberalization in the Arab World
Hyde Schedules Thursday Hearing to Examine Reform Progress 

BACKGROUND: The Arab world today stands at a crossroads.  Faced with three fundamental deficits in political freedom, knowledge, and women’s rights, the current state of human development of the Arab people is a contradiction of their historical contributions and achievements. The recently released Arab Human Development Report suggests that “[O]f all the impediments to an Arab renaissance, political restrictions on human development are the most stubborn.”  More specifically, Thursday’s hearing will explore challenges and prospects of political reform in Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.  Among topics expected to be addressed are the growing restlessness of Arab civil society; the responsiveness of selected governments to demands for greater democracy and strategies to increase citizen participation; United States strategies in support of greater political and economic liberalization in the Arab world and indigenous reform movements; and prospects for greater U.S.-Arab cooperation to capitalize on the recently perceived winds of change in the region. 

WHAT:                     Full Committee Oversight Hearing:  Redefining Boundaries:  Political Liberalization in the Arab World
                      U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman

WHEN:                    10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 21, 2005

WHERE:                   Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:           Hatoon Al-Fassi, Ph.D., Professor of History, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia;
                       Azzedine Layachi, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Department of Government and Politics, St. John’s University, Queens, New York;
                       Najib Ghadbian, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas;
                       Amr Hamzawy, Ph.D.,
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment, Washington, D.C.; and
                       Amy Hawthorne,
Middle East Democracy Analyst (former Founding Editor of Carnegie Endowment’s
                       Arab Reform Bulletin
), Washington, D.C.

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