The ACRPS will be hosting an academic conference under the revised title of "Islamists and Democratic Governance: Experiences and Directions" from October 6 to October 8, 2012 (see previous announcement). With preparations now in place, a total of 31 academic researchers and 26 discussion participants who are involved with the event's theme will be joined by 22 notable figures drawn from the leadership of Islamist parties. 

Designed from the outset to be centered on peer-reviewed research papers submitted by specialists regarding questions of systems of governance, citizenship, and democracy, the ACRPS also worked to ensure that the value of the conference would be enhanced by the interaction between those researchers and political Islamists. By fostering discussion between these two groups, allowing for the most fundamental, pressing, and direct questions related to the theme of the conference. The underlying context is the great social transformation the Arab countries are currently going through with the emergence of revolutions, protest movements, and novel movements for social and political change. These are harbingers of Arab societies' entries into an uncharted historical period, bringing with them a number of questions and controversies.

The meeting will be composed of 10 specialist sessions, three public lectures, and three discussion meetings that bring the various participants together under the general banner of "Political Islamists and the Democratic Transition". ACRPS General Director Azmi Bishara, who will also deliver the first special lecture of the conference discussing the question of religion and democracy, will deliver opening remarks for the conference.

Subsequent specialist sessions will run in parallel, in two equal paths, with five sessions in each.

The first session will be dedicated to examining "The Sudanese Experience: Thought, Governance and Politics," and will be addressed by Abdulwahhab al-Afandi, Al Tayeb Zeinelabidine, Shamsuldin Dau-el-beit, and Al Mahjoub Adulsalam; closing remarks will be delivered by Ghazi Salahuldin.

The second, subsequent session under the same path is titled "Thought and Practice of Political Shiite Islam: The Concept of Vilayet-e-Faqih versus Community Autonomy". Farah Kawtharani and Talal Atrissi will address this meeting, with closing remarks being given by Tawfik Saif.

The third session will be dedicated to the question of "Islamist Political Movements: Citizenship, the State, International Relations, and Alliances and Questions of Religious Reform and Secularism". This third session will be addressed by Kamal Abdullatif, Sami Khazendar, and Rashid Muqtadar, with closing remarks delivered by Mukhtar Nouh.

The fourth session is titled "The Experiences of Islamists in the Maghreb: Alliances and Participation in Governance," and will be addressed by Omar Aharshan, Imhamad Jabroun, Mohammed Hamma, and Ali Hami ul Din, with Mohammed Jamil Mansour giving the closing remarks.

During the fifth session, "Political Islam: Principles and Practice," the attendees will hear from Ahmad Moussali, Moutaz al-Khatib, and Abdullah Turkmani, before a summation and closing remarks by Abdullah Jaballah.

In parallel to the above, the following will be grouped into five sessions. The first of these is titled "The Challenges of Building a State in Tunisia: The An Nahda Experience," and will be addressed by Anwar Jamaawi, Hamadi al-Thuwayb, and Mohammed Sayed Salim, before closing remarks by Riyadh al-Shuaibi.

The second session will be devoted to "Yemeni Political Islamism: Pragmatism, Thought, the Houthi Question, and Yemeni Civil Society's Experience with Reforms". This session will be addressed by Fouad al-Salahi, Ahmad al-Daghshi, and Mohammed al-Afandi, with Abdulwahhab al-Ansi providing the closing remarks.

The third session, "The Muslim Brotherhood and the Transitional Period in Egypt," to be addressed by Ibrahim Bayoumi Ghanem, Nivene Masaad, Khalil al-Anani, and Hisham Jaafar before the closing remarks by Jamal Hishmet.

The fourth session focuses on "Political Islamists and Democratic Practice: Experiences and a Comparative Approach". This session will be addressed by Ibrahim Gharaybeh, Adnan Abu Amer, and Muhanad Mubayyedeen.

Finally, the fifth session addresses "The Iraqi Experience and Difficulties of Sectarian Politicization," to be addressed by ACRPS Researcher Sayyar al-Jamil and Rashid al-Khayoun before Hareth al-Dhari offers the closing remarks.

In addition to the above, the conference will also host two special lectures of vital importance to those questions being addressed at the meeting. The first of these will be delivered by Sudanese Islamist Hassan al-Turabi in his lecture, titled "A Candid Islamist Experience: Thought and Politics". The second of these will be delivered by Tunisia's Rachid al-Ghannouchi, titled "The Islamist Movement and Matters of a Democratic Constitution".

In addition to the above academic sessions and special lectures, the conference will also take in a total of three open discussion meetings that bring together the public and politicians. These meetings are intended to provide an opportunity for more open discussion between a number of the researchers and other attendees of the conference. Each of these meetings will be followed by a question and answer session.

The first of these will be chaired and opened by Ahmad al-Moussalli, and will be addressed by Abdullah Jaballah (Algeria), Ghazi Salahuldin (Sudan), and Abu Al Alaa Madhi (Egypt).

Abdulwahhab al-Afandi will preside over the second of these public meetings, which will be addressed by Senoussi Baskeeri (Libya), Salem al-Fallahat (Jordan), Abdulwahhab al-Ansi, (Yemen) and Islam Lutfi (Egypt).

The third such meeting will be supervised by ACRPS Researcher Jamal Barout, and will be addressed by Yahya Walad al-Waqf (Mauritania), Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanuni (Syria), and Mohammed Jamil Mansour (Mauritania).

Last minute addition: the ACRPS is pleased to announce that Khaled Meshaal will be speaking to our audience on the third day of our Conference on Islamists. The conference proceedings will be published by the ACRPS in a series of books shortly after the event.

See also: previous notification of the event.