On January 22-24, 2011, IWP's Center for Culture and Security sponsored the Iran Democratic Transition Conference, in conjunction with George Washington University and the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS), a pro-western independent student movement with chapters in Iran, United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Iraq, Turkey and Malaysia.
The program took a pragmatic approach to exploring the prospects of political change in Iran and to paving the way for the establishment of a secular, pluralistic, democratic government in Iran. A host of expert Iranian panelists, Iran scholars, and U.S. law makers discussed policy, strategic, and social issues to establish a shared vision of liberty.
IWP was honored to have Iranian political prisoner Arzhang Davoodi send his support to the Iranian conference. Please click here to hear his remarks. Arzhang Davoodi, teacher, poet, writer and political prisoner has been imprisoned for eight years and still has seven more years to serve for his opposition to the Islamic Republic and his life long fight for Freedom and Democracy. He is the Secretary General of the Iranian Freedom Movement and co-founder of the Confederation of Iranian Students. Please click here to read more.
Speakers and panelists included U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), U.S. Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), Abolfazl Islami (Former Islamic Republic of Iran's Diplomat to Japan), Amir A. Fakhravar (Research Fellow at Institute of World Politics, award winning writer and jailed dissident), Kenneth Katzman (Specialist in Iran and Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Congressional Research Service), John Lenczowski (President of IWP), Juliana Geran Pilon (Director, Center for Culture and Security, IWP), J. Michael Waller (IWP Professor Alireza Noorizadeh (Veteran journalist, London), Mehdi Saharkhiz (Citizen Journalist, Son of Isa Saharkhiz, former head of the press department at the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Education and jailed dissident), Roozbeh Mir-Ebrahimi (Jailed blogger, Journalist, NY), Potkin Azarmehr (Award winning blogger and Iran expert, London), Afshin Ellian (Professor of law and philosophy, Islam, and Middle East scholar, Netherlands), Mashaallah Abbaszadeh (former Iran Election Headquarters chief, Canada), Siamak Shojaei (Iran scholar on Economics and sanctions, NY), Solmaz Sharif (Journalist, NY), Jamie Tronnes (International Republican Institute), Robert Benjamin (National Democratic Institute), Ivan Marovic (Serbian Student Leader, Belgrade), Jane Kokan (Award winning documentary filmmaker, Canada), and many more expert speakers.
Panels included "Transition to Democracy: Challenges and Opportunities;" "New Media: Cyber Revolution and Individualism;" "New Generation: Demands, Abilities and Political Vision;" "Secularism: Ideology and Alternatives;" "Sanctions: ‘Behavior Change' or ‘Regime Change'?;" "Oppositions Leadership: In Exile or from Within?;" "New Constitution: ‘Reform' or ‘Regime Change';" and "Iran and the World: Mutual Commitments."
Many thanks for organizing the conference go to Amir Abbas Fakhravar, IWP Research Fellow and co-founder, Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS), and Erica Kasraie, CIS spokesperson and Board member of the Iranian Freedom Institute.
And a special thanks must go to our generous supporters, who made this conference possible!