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Political Salon: Human Rights in Iran

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 12:45pm

World Policy Institute and CDS International present:

Human Rights in Iran:
The Role of the International Community

A Political Salon with

  • Barbara Lochbihler, German Member of the European Parliament
  • Geneive Abdo, fellow and Iran analyst at The Century Foundation

Moderated by Sebastian Gräfe, Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America

November 15, 2010
This event is by invitation only.

As more time passes since the disputed June 2009 election in Iran that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power, the Iranian regime's campaign of repression against its own citizens deepens. Now more than ever, the segment of the Iranian population seeking positive change feels depleted and disillusioned. During the election crisis, the United States was muted in its criticism of the regime, for fear that the appearance of US government support would weaken the opposition, but controversy remains over whether that was the best approach. Last summer marked the second meeting of the Iran-U.S. advisory group, which brought together Iranian academics, former officials in the regime who have now joined the opposition, Iranian activists with ties to the opposition, European and American experts, and officials and diplomats to discuss the human rights situation in Iran and appropriate responses from the United States and European Union. Their findings, published in the joint Boell & Century Foundation's policy paper, "Placing Human Rights Violations in Iran on Top of the Foreign Policy Agenda," highlight ways in which the regime is vulnerable to international criticism. They also emphasized how Iranian activists and civil society can benefit from international attention. This discussion will address ways to coordinate efforts to highlight violations and support civil society without allowing Iran to argue to its citizens that international support for human rights is only a closet effort by the West to topple the regime.

In this Political Salon, MEP and longtime human rights activist Barbara Lochbihler and co-author Geneive Abdo discuss the report's findings and the stance of the international community towards Iran. Sebastian Gräfe, co-author of the report and Program Director for Foreign & Security Policy for the Böll Foundation's Transatlantic Relations program in Washington DC, will moderate.

About the Speakers

Barbara Lochbihler was elected to the European Parliament in 2009 as a member of the Greens/European Free Alliance party. In her current post, she is also Chair of the European Parliament's Delegation to Iran, and a member of its Subcommittee on Human Rights. Prior to her current appointment, Minister Lochbihler served as Secretary General of Amnesty International Germany for ten years.

Geneive Abdo is the director of the Iran program at The Century Foundation and editor and creator of Before joining The Century Foundation, she was a liaison for the United Nations' Alliance of Civilizations, and a foreign correspondent for many years in the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. Her latest book is Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11 (Oxford University Press, 2006).

About the Sponsors

CDS International, founded in 1968, is a nonprofit international exchange organization based in New York City. CDS offers a diverse portfolio of exchange programs, professional work internships, study tours, seminars, and language and cultural training programs designed to prepare individuals and corporations for a globally interconnected society. CDS currently administers over 30 customized programs with more than 15 partner organizations and 800 companies worldwide.

The Political Salon - organized by Steve Sokol since 2003 to promote dialogue among the next generation of leaders in business, policy, and the media - regularly convenes a diverse group of young professionals to discuss a range of foreign policy issues and global affairs. Attendees are diverse in terms of nationality, profession, and political persuasion.

With special thanks to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for supporting the Political Salon.




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