The three-day conference, "The Arabs and the Horn of Africa - Dialectic of regional Neighborliness and Belonging," organized by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) will kick off on Sunday November 27, 2011. A large audience of experts and concerned public is expected to attend the event.

The importance of the conference comes from the fact that it is the first in the Arab world to adopt the approach of investigating the issues concerning the Arab relations with the African Horn region, its future perspectives, and the impact of the Israeli penetration at the expenses of the Arab strategic security. Moreover, the conference comes at a time where the Arab spring expectedly initiates reprioritization of Arab foreign policy agendas along with the aspired democratic reforms.

The conference, to be held in Doha - Qatar will attempt to study the subject from different perspectives through five principal topics. Each focusing on a major issue  related to the relation between Arabs and the African Horn, with an aim to develop an accurate assessment of the current state of affairs and the future opportunities to structure solid relationships based on equality, mutual respect, and cooperation on the economical, educational, political, and humanitarian levels.

The first principal topic will focus on the historic aspect of the relationship between the Arabs and the African Horn, the development phases of this relationship and the vicissitudes in the Arab expansion through the Nile and African Horn area.

The second topic focuses on the political and economic issues, including cross-meeting of  Arab interests with the Horn of Africa and the challenges posed by the international policies vis-à-vis  this relationship, along with investigating the reasons of the Israeli increasing influence across this region and  the Arab ebbing  despite Djibouti and Somalia  joining the Arab League.

The third topic treats the strategic and security dimensions, with a focus on the strategic importance of the Horn region to the major powers and the implications for the Arabs in terms of awareness about foreign dominance challenges and attempts of establishing an enduring military presence in the Gulf of Eden and Bab Al-Mandab.

The fourth topic is dedicated to the cultural heritage of the peoples of the African Horn, which have not met so far much interest.  It would highlight the richness of this heritage and the Arab and Islamic contribution still ignored by many Arabs, particularly in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Eretria.

On the third day, the conference will hold two special sessions: the first is dedicated to the Arab media dealings with the Horn of Africa, and the issues of communication in and with this area through foreign press agencies. The second session will be a panel discussion aiming at developing a future agenda for structuring long-term relationships and bonds between Arabs and Africans.

A diverse selection of experts and academics will be participating in the conference. The opening day will include a lecture (at 6:00 p.m.) by the renowned African Affairs expert Peter Woodward on the challenges and pains of the African Horn region from the perspective of the Western states.

- To read the concept paper and review the conference panels , please click here

- To read the conference agenda, please click here