November 13, 2006, 9:00 am - June 25, 2019, 1:48 am


1761 N Street NW
Washington, 20036 (Map)

Middle East Institute 60th Annual Conference
"New Approaches to Enduring Issues"
November 13-14, 2006


Welcome and Keynote Address


Samuel W. Bodman, U.S. Secretary of Energy

Samuel W. Bodman, U.S. Secretary of Energy

Samuel Wright Bodman is currently the US Secretary of Energy. Previously, Secretary Bodman served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce. In addition to his work in government, Bodman had been Director of many publicly-owned corporations. Bodman also taught chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for six years, where he became the Director of MIT's School of Engineering Practice.


Transcript I Summary


Panel I: Exiting Iraq


Jay Garner, US Army (retired)


Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress


David Satterfield, Sr. State Dept. Coordinator, Iraq


Qubad Talabany, Kurdistan Regional Government


Moderator: Bing West, GAMA Corporation


Transcript I Summary



Jay Garner, US Army General, retired in 1997 as the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Army after 35 years active duty. In 1991, he was the Commanding General of Task Force Bravo in Northern Iraq. In 2003 he served as the first administrator for post0war Iraq. He currently lives in Windermere, FL, after retiring as President of SY-Coleman, a division of L-3 Communications.

Brian Katulis is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. At the Center, his work examines US national security policy in the Middle East and democratization, with a focus on Iraq. Prior to joining the Center, Katulis worked in the Middle East with the national Democratic Institute and Freedom House.

David Satterfield became Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq in May 2005. Prior to this assignment, he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary. He was Ambassador to Lebanon from September 1998 to June 2001. Ambassador Satterfield is the recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award and six Superior Honor Awards, notably for his work on the Middle East peace process.

Quban Talabani currently serves as the Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the United States. In 2003, he served for one year as a Senior Foreign Relations officer for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), operating mainly out of Baghdad and Sulaymanya, working closely with the US-led Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance.

Bing West is currently president of the GAMA Corporation, which designs combat decision-making simulations. West was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan Administration and also served in the Marine infantry in Vietnam.


Panel II: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Regional Stability


Steve Coll, The New Yorker


James Dobbins, RAND Corporation


Richard Giguere, Royal Canadian Forces Attaché


Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution, Saban Center for Middle East Policy


Moderator: Marvin Weinbaum, Middle East Institute


Transcript I Summary



Steve Coll is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Coll served as managing editor of The Washington Post from 1998 to 2004 and as associate editor from late 2004 to August 2005. He is the writer of numerous books, including the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for general non-fiction, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.

James Dobbins is the Director of RAND Corporation's International Security and Defense Policy Center. He has held State Department and White House posts, including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President for the Western Hemisphere, Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans and Ambassador to the European Community.

Richard Giguère is the Canadian Forces Military Attaché in Washington, DC. He served in Kabul, Afghanistan, in Operation Athena as the Kabul Multinational Brigade Chief of Staff from January to July 2004. Col. Giguère holds a BA with Honors in Military and Strategic Studies from the Collége Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean and a post-graduate degree in Strategic Studies from the Université Paris-Nord.

Bruce Riedel is Senior Fellow for Political Transitions in the Middle East and South AIsa at the Saban Center in the Brookings Institution. He is an analyst of Middle East and South Asia politics with extensive experience in counter-terrorism, energy security and multilateral diplomacy. Riedel served as a senior advisor for 8 years at the National Security Council to the last three Presidents of the United States.

Marvin Weinbaum is currently a Scholar-in-Residence with the Middle East Institute. He previously served as an Afghanistan and Pakistan Analyst at the Bureau of Intelligence Research at the State Department (1999-2003), Professor Emeritus oat the University of Illinois and Director of the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (1996-97).


Panel III: The International Community and Iran


Hooshang Amirahmadi, Founder and President, American Iranian Council (AIC)


Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)


Barbara Slavin, Senior Diplomatic Reporter for USA Today, USIP


Moderator: John Limbert, US Naval Academy, former 14-month hostage in Iran


Transcript I Summary



Hooshang Amirahmadi, Founder and President, American Iranian Council (AIC)

Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi is a Professor at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy who has also served as director of Rutgers’ Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Amirahmadi is founder and president of the American Iranian Council and also founded the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis. He has also served as consultant for the UNDP, the Aga Khan Foundation, the World Bank, as well as various governments, law firms, and private companies throughout the world. Amirahmadi holds a PhD from Cornell University.

Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

Trita Parsi is President of the National Iranian American Council. Parsi has worked for the Swedish Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, where he handled Security Council affairs for Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan and Western Sahara. He also has worked as the General Assembly's Third Committee addressing human rights in Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq. Parsi has his PhD from Johns Hopkins University's SAIS and holds degrees from Uppsala University and the Stockholm School of Economics.

Barbara Slavin, Senior Diplomatic Reporter for USA Today, USIP

Currently, Barbara Slavin is a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute for Peace. She has served as Senior Diplomatic Reporter for USA TODAY since 1996, with the responsibility of analyzing foreign news and US foreign policy. She has covered key issues including the US-led war on terror, American policy toward rogue states, the reform movement in Iran, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She has also accompanied Secretaries of State on official travels, and reported from Libya, Israel, Egypt, North Korea, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Slavin received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University in Russian language and literature.

John Limbert, US Naval Academy, former 14-month hostage in Iran

Ambassador John Limbert, a Senior Foreign Service Officer, previously served as Ambassador to Mauritania. Prior to his ambassadorial assignment, Limbert was Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the State Department. Limbert’s overseas experience includes tours in Algeria, Djibouti, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Limbert holds a BA, MA and PhD from Harvard University, as well as the State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award, Superior Honor Award, and Award for Valor.


60th Anniversary Banquet Dinner and Address


Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner-General, UNRWA

Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commisioner-General, UNRWA

Karen Koning AbuZayd has served as Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency since June 2005. Previously, she was an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and was appointed to the post of Deputy-Commissioner General of UNRWA. Since September 2000, her work has concentrated on providing emergency assistance and generating employment for victims of the current crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.




Panel IV: Engaging Political Islam


Maysam al-Faruqi, Georgetown University


Richard Murphy, Former Assistant Secretary of State


S. Abdallah Schleifer, DC Bureau Chief, Al Arabiya


Moderator: Akbar Ahmed, American University


Transcript I Summary



Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC and is the world's leading authority on contemporary Islam, according to the BBC. He is the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain and is the Principal Investigator for the 'Islam in the Age of Globalization' project, sponsored by the Brookings Institution, American University, and the Pew Forum.

Maysam al Faruqi is visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she teaches courses on Islamic History and Islamic Thought in the Department of Theology. Her specialization is in Islamic law, Islamic theology, and Quranic studies. She completed her studies at St. Joesph University, Beirut and Temple University.

Richard Murphy has followed Near Eastern developments for over 40 years, 34 of which was spent as a career foreign officer. He served as Ambassador to Mauritania, Syria, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. From 1983-1989, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Murphy has received the President's Distinguished Service Award three times and the State Department Superior Honor Award twice.

S. Abdallah Schleifer is Al Arabiya News Channel's Washington DC Bureau Chief and former founder and director of the Adham Center for Television Journalism at the American University in Cairo. Prior to that, Schleifer served as NBC News Cairo Bureau Chief and Middle East producer/reporter based in Beirut.


Panel V: Making Peace in Sudan


Tim Carney, Former US Ambassador to Sudan


John Prendergast, International Crisis Group


Adam Shapiro, Darfur Diaries


Moderator: Peter Bechtold, College of William & Mary


Transcript I Summary



Peter Bechtold has followed Sudan for over 40 years. He is currently Professor of Middle East Studies at the College of William & Mary and Vice-President of the Sudan-American Foundation for Education, Inc. Bechtold is Chairman emeritus of Near East North Africa area studies at the Foreign Service Institute.

Timothy Carney spent 32 years in the US Foreign Service. He participated in UN missions in Cambodia, Somalia, and South Africa, retiring after service as Ambassador to Sudan and Haiti. Carney recently produced a photo book, Sudan: The Land and the People, with his wife Vicki Butler and noted British photographer Michael Freeman.

John Prendergast is a Senior Adviser at the International Crisis Group. He worked in the White House and the State Department during the Clinton Administration from 1996-2001 and has worked for a variety of NGOs and think tanks in Africa and the US. He has authored or co-authored seven books on Africa and is currently co-authoring a book with actor Don Cheadle.

Adam Shapiro is a human rights activist and documentary filmmaker. His work on Darfur includes the documentary film Darfur Diaries: message from home and the book Darfur Diaries: struggle for survival, both of which give voice to Darfurians suffering from violence, displacement, and an uncertain future.


Policy Presentation: John Hillen


John Hillen, Assistant Secretary of State, Political-Military Affairs

John Hillen, Assistant Secretary of State, Political-Military Affairs

John Hillen serves as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. The bureau he heads is the principal link between the Departments of State and Defense. The bureau provides policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, humanitarian assistance, and defense trade.




Panel VI: America's Partnership with the Gulf Region


Rachel Bronson, Council on Foreign Relations


Jamal Khashoggi, Embassy of Saudi Arabia


Moderator: Marcelle Wahba, Foreign Policy Advisor to Chief of Staff, USAF


Transcript I Summary



Rachel Bronson is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies for the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jamal Khashoggi is a Media Advisor at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia.
Marcelle Wahba is Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief of Staff at USAFA.


Panel VII: Israel's Evolving Foreign Policy


Geoffrey Aronson, Foundation for Middle East Peace


Daniel Levy, Former advisor to PM Barak/New America Foundation


Yoram Peri, Tel Aviv University


Daniel Seidemann, Legal Advisor and expert on Jerusalem


Moderator: Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania


Transcript I Summary



Geoffrey Aronson is the director of Research and Publications at the foundation for Middle East Peace, where he is also the editor of the foundation's bimonthly Report on Israeli settlement in the Occupied Territories. He is also a journalist and historian who has published widely on international affairs.

Daniel Levy is a senior fellow and Director of the New America Foundation/Century Foundation Middle East Initiative. He was the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative and directed policy planning and international efforts at the Geneva Campaign Headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Ian Lustick is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His current research focuses on the long-term prospects for Israel’s integration into the Middle East. He is the author of the books Trapped in the War on Terror, Exile and Return: Predicaments of Palestinians and Jews, and Unsettled States, Disputed Lands: Britain and Ireland, France and Algeria, Israel and the West Bank and Gaza.

Yoram Peri is head of The Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics and Society and professor of Political Sociology and Communication in the Department of Communication at Tel Aviv University. He was a former political advisor to the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former Editor-in-Chief of the Israeli daily Davar. Peri is also a journalist and political commentator.

Daniel Seidemann is a practicing attorney in Jerusalem, specializing in issues that impact relations between Israelis and Palestinians in the city. Seidemann is founder and consultant to Ir Amim ('City of Peoples' or 'City of Nations'), an Israeli NGO dedicated to a stable, equitable, and sustainable Jerusalem for both of the national collectives in the city.