MPAC Participates in State Dept. 'Citizen Dialogues' Initiative

June 20, 2006

This week, Muslim Public Affairs Council board member Dr. Yahya Basha will participate in a new "People-to-People" Public Diplomacy Program called "Citizen Dialogues". Basha is one of four American Muslims who are participating in the eight-day, three-country tour of Europe hosted by the State Department.

During their visits to Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, the American Muslim delegates will be sharing their experiences and perspectives on a variety of issues, including civil society, education, diversity, religion, charity, conflict prevention, and civil rights. In addition to meetings with Muslim community leaders, the group will also meet with business leaders, civic leaders, government officials, media, academics, and youth, in coordination with US Embassies.

"Citizen Dialogues" is an effort by the U.S. government to reach out to Muslims around the world in order to provide opportunities to mobilize and amplify the voices of U.S. Muslims and Arab Americans, to encourage a cross-cultural dialogue and to advance diplomacy, according to Heidi Fincken, special adviser to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes.

Under Secretary Hughes established the Citizen Dialogues program in response to requests she received from European Muslims during a trip to Germany early this year.  She met with a group of German Muslims who wanted the opportunity to meet with American Muslims to hear about their experiences living in the United States. Hughes plans on organizing three more groups of Muslim-American community leaders who will participate in similar exchanges in South Central Asia, the Middle East and the East Asian Pacific regions.

[CONTACT: Edina Lekovic, 213-383-3443,]



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