No exclusions from National Dialogue
22 March 2011
Saudi Gazette -
RIYADH: Fahd Al-Sultan, deputy secretary general of the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue, has denied that a “blacklist” exists of names that are barred from taking part in the dialogue meetings.
“The National Dialogue makes every effort to not have the same names reappearing in order to involve the largest number of new persons and have them bring new ideas and different convictions,” Al-Sultan said. “There are no names ruled out as long as they work within the regulations of the law and national unity.”
He said that recommendations produced by the meetings of the National Dialogue had been “carried out on the ground”, but added that detailed assessment required an “in-depth study to view what has been achieved”.
“The Center for National Dialogue does not follow up the results of recommendations as its task is to offer a platform so that Saudi people can meet and discuss the future of the country. That is our true role.”
He said the center would soon sign an agreement with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, to provide training for 40,000 imams.
“We have already signed an agreement with the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice for training and we hope to see mosques play a large role in establishing the culture of dialogue.”
Al-Sultan was speaking ahead of the first round of preparatory meetings for the ninth National Dialogue which begin Wednesday in Taif, and said that the center was “putting the final touches on the general frameworks for the new strategy”.
“It is the participants themselves who propose the subjects which the Center for Dialogue then asks society to discuss at the dialogue table,” he said. “The center is not elitist. It is for all parts of Saudi society.”
He said the center maintained “close contact” with society through its “training, Internet sites and Facebook and Twitter pages.
“Dialogue is a form of social behavior on which society depends in the discussion of its concerns, particularly the young people in society,” he said. “There are a variety of ways in which Saudis can offer proposals and inquiries to the center.”
He added that he was not fully satisfied with the agreements made between the Center for National Dialogue and government departments for the promotion of the culture of dialogue.
“We hope to see more collaboration with the universities,” he said. “There must be conviction on both sides and complete belief in the importance of promoting the culture of dialogue.”
Previous meetings have, however, helped to ingrain the principle and concept in society, he said.
“That’s why the dialogue culture now has acceptance from the people of this one nation in all their various inclinations and views, and gathered around a table of dialogue. That’s the real accomplishment.”
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette -