- Marc F. Plattner, Vice President, Research and Studies,National Endowment for Democracy and Co-Editor, Journal of Democracy
- Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Developmental Studies and Professor of Political Sociology, The American University, Cairo
- Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University and Co-Editor, Journal of Democracy
Saad Eddin Ibrahim is founder and chairman of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo. He also serves as secretary general of the Egyptian Independent Commission for Electoral Review, member of the Club of Rome, trustee of the Arab Thought Forum, and president of the Egyptian Sociologists Association.
An internationally renowned political activist and scholar, Ibrahim has been one of the Arab world’s most prominent spokesmen on behalf of democracy and human rights. His 2000 arrest and subsequent seven-year sentence for accepting foreign funds without permission and “tarnishing” Egypt’s image sparked a loud outcry from the international community. Many local and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, and the International Federation of Human Rights, as well as Western governments called for his release. In 2003 Egypt’s highest appeal court, the Court of Cassation, declared his trials improper and cleared him of all charges.
Born in 1938 in Mansura, Egypt, Ibrahim studied at Cairo University, where he received a bachelor’s degree with honors, and the University of Washington, where he earned a Ph.D. in sociology. In 1988, he founded the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, one of the first independent research centers in the Middle East, which remains one of Egypt’s preeminent research and advocacy institutions.
Ibrahim is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than thirty-five books in Arabic and English, including Egypt, Islam, and Democracy: Critical Essays (2002). He has written more than 100 scholarly articles, some of which have been translated into as many as thirteen languages. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards, including:
- the Jordanian Order of Independence
- the Kuwait Award in Social and Economic Sciences
- the Middle East Studies Association Award for Academic Freedom, the Freedom House Award for Defending Democracy and Human Rights
- the American Sociological Association Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Social Sciences and Freedom
Ibrahim also has taught courses at Cairo University, the American University of Beirut, Indiana University, DePauw University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Washington. He also founded and served as the secretary-general of the Arab Organization for Human Rights and the Arab Council of Childhood and Development.
The National Endowment for Democracy would like to thank the following donors for their generous support of this event:
- The Albert Shanker Institute
- The American Federation of Teachers