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March 7, 2005

Press Release, March 8 (WG 15)

Thematic Subject Area IV: Civil Society
Working Group 15
Civil Society and Political Violence

March 8th, the International Summit on Democracy and Terrorism will host a thirteen member panel which will investigate how the violence campaigns of terrorists, aimed at governments, affect citizens. This working group examines the impact of terrorism and political violence on civil society, and attempts to define the sometimes delicate relationship between citizens and terrorists. Issues to be addressed are:

  • How does civil society respond to political violence? What are the dynamics it triggers?
  • How do citizens view terrorists, especially when they perceive them to be from their own community? Are there experiences and/or lessons we can learn from?
  • How can we strengthen and prepare civil society, so it becomes more resistant against false attraction of extremist ideologies?
  • Are there any practical experiences to be learned from?
The conclusions of this working group and 16 others will be incorporated into the Agenda of Madrid, which will be published on March 11th, 2005.

Working group members will include:


  • Murat Belge (Turkey), editor of the political magazine Yeni Gündem, Turkey. Also head of the department of comparative literature at Bilgi University, Istanbul. Founder of the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly.
  • Ruth Cardoso (Brazil), president of the Comunidade Solidaria programme, Brazil. Former First Lady of Brazil. Author of numerous books on social movements and anthropology. Leading women’s rights activist.
  • Heba Raouf Ezzat (Egypt), lecturer of political theory at Cairo University. Research interests include the socio-logic of Islam writers, women, democracy and citizenship . Program coordinator at the centre for political research, editor of the Global Civil Society Yearbook.
  • Radha Kumar (India), Visiting Professor, Jamia Millia University, Delhi. She directs a program on ethnic conflicts and peace processes at the Delhi Policy Group.
  • Robin Wilson (Northern Ireland), director and founder of Democratic Dialogue, Belfast. Interests include good governance, intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention in Northern Ireland. Has written numerous journal articles and book chapters on these issues.
  • Heba Al-Sadeq (Palestine), Gaza Community Health Center, Palestine. Worked for a centre dealing with the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as for the Palestinian Free Pen Magazine.
  • Isam Kadhem F. Al-Rawi (Iraq), professor of geology in the Earth Sciences Department at Baghdad University. Head of the Association of University Lecturers, which he founded in June 2003. Frequently lectures on religious affairs, religious history and extremism in religion.
  • Kayode Fayemi (Zimbabwe-UK), founding director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, London. Expert in promoting democratic development and human security in Africa. Author of Deepening Democracy: Evaluating Zimbabwe’s Constitution-Making Process (CDD 2000).
  • Steven Gorelick (USA), Vice president at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Member of the National Center for Critical Incident Analysis at the National Defense University in Washington. Consultant to local and federal agencies on media and mass violence.
  • Tsvia Walden (Israel), founder of the Israeli Women’s Parliament. Initiator of numerous peace and reconciliation projects. Outspoken advocate of inter-cultural dialogue.
  • Hatton Ahwad Al Fassi (Saudi-Arabia), professor of history at King Saud University, Riyadh. Outspoken advocate of reforms in the Arab world (as well as in her homeland), and specialist on the evolution of Islam.
  • Wendy Luers (USA), president and founder of The Foundation for Civil Society. Trustee of numerous boards, who has received several awards in recognition for her work in promoting civil rights and society in Eastern Europe. (External member)
  • Maria Ángeles Siemens (Spain), director of the Spanish UNHCR Committee. Also serves as president of, a peace building initiative. Expert in refugees in war-torn societies and psycho-social reconciliation. (External member)

With the collaboration ofSafe Democracy Foundation
Members of the Club de Madrid

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