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Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
Public Program
Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: One Year Post-Cairo
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dirk Ficca
, Executive Director, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions
Eboo Patel
, Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core
Afeefa Syeed
, Senior Culture and Development Advisor, Asia and Middle East Bureaus, U.S. Agency for International Development
Moderated by Rachel Bronson, Vice President for Programs and Studies, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

June 4, 2010 marks the first anniversary of President Obama’s speech at Cairo University, during which he outlined a path toward “a new beginning” with Muslim communities around the world. During his speech the President recognized the importance of engaging not only with governments but with economically and politically influential sectors of societies, including Muslim communities. It follows that the next steps will include a strategy to engage religious communities of all faiths in addressing pressing foreign policy challenges, and to build the institutional capacity to support it. The Chicago Council is particularly interested in the Administration’s follow-up to the Cairo speech given our recent task force report, Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy, which outlines specific policy recommendations towards such a strategy. Join us for an important conversation that will serve as both a one-year anniversary review of President Obama’s speech in Cairo and the Chicago presentation of The Chicago Council’s task force report.

Dirk FiccaDirk Ficca serves as executive director of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. Ficca worked closely with the religious and spiritual communities of the Chicago metropolitan area to plan and organize the 1993 Parliament event in Chicago. Ficca is an ordained Presbyterian minister and prior to joining the Council served for eleven years as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Benton Harbor, Michigan. He teaches at DePaul University, the Lutheran School of Theology, and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Eboo PatelEboo Patel is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. He is author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and is a board member at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and served as a member of the Chicago Council task force that produced Engaging Religious Communities Abroad. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Afeefa SyeedAfeefa Syeed is senior advisor at the USAID Middle East and Asia Bureaus. Syeed designs and implements initiatives and training to address issues of engaging traditional and religious leaders and institutions, radicalization, madrassah enhancement, mainstreaming gender, and other emerging programs in the Middle East and Asia. Her work has also included advising the White House, NSC, DOS, and DHS on the same issues. She has consulted with the UN Democracy Fund, World Bank, the U.S. State Department Office for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Department of Human Rights and Labor, and various in-country and international organizations.


The panel will be moderated by Rachel Bronson, Vice President for Programs and Studies, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The Chicago Club
81 East Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Business attire is required.


5:30 p.m. Registration and reception
6:00 p.m. Presentation and discussion
7:15 p.m. Adjournment

Individuals $10 President’s Circle, Corporate Members, and Student Members complimentary

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Tel: + 1 312.629.2990
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