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Live blogging Center for Study of Islam and Democracy conference on Meedan.net

The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy is to run a featured channel of reports, discussions and comments on its 10th year annual conference on the cross-language dialogue platform Meedan.net.

US-based speakers include Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, John Esposito of Georgetown and Geneive Abdo of The Century Foundation.

There are also many speakers from the Middle East, including Sara Korshid of Islam Online, Dr. Osama Kadi, Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies and Atef Al-Saadawy, Al-Ahram Democracy Review.

The channel will allow CSID to connect with a wider audience, not just in the US, but across the Middle East as content on Meedan.net is translated across Arabic and English.

Speakers and attendees will be able to relay their findings and continue their discussions on the Internet with faith groups, journalists, civil society organizations, policy makers and researchers in the Arab and Islamic World.

To help make the most of this opportunity, please register here or watch this video to learn more.

Here's more on the conference, which takes place 5 May 2009.

The election of Barack Obama as America's 44th president has galvanized the entire nation, indeed the entire world.  A world full of possibilities appears to have opened up, prompted by President Obama's attitude and policies of inclusiveness and even-handedness.  In his inaugural address, the new president remarked memorably, "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

All these developments give rise to the following questions - does this deliberate change in the new administration's worldview augur a more hopeful trajectory for US relations with the Muslim world?  Dare we imagine just and more equitable approaches - and eventually solutions - to the political and economic problems which beset many Muslim-majority societies?   Will there be a concerted effort to revive the peace process in the Middle East?   Will the war-torn societies of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, for example, have opportunities to heal and become fully self-determining?

These and related questions form the backdrop to the tenth annual conference of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.  It is clear at the present time that considerable challenges and promise lie ahead for future relations between the US and the Muslim world.  This conference will attempt to identify and assess the nature of some of these challenges and determine if the new administration's proposed policy changes potentially herald a more positive and fruitful relationship.