U.S.-Muslim Engagement Initiative Featured at Peace through Moderation Reception

The U.S.-Muslim Engagement Initiative was featured by Peace through Moderation, a project of the Alliance for Peacebuilding coalition, at an exclusive reception hosted at the Harvard Club, Manhattan.

The U.S.-Muslim Engagement Initiative (USMEI), an internationally recognized program, is a collaboration between the Consensus Building Institute, Convergence, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Institute for Resource and Security Studies. USMEI promotes action-oriented, cross-societal dialogue among thought-leaders, opinion-leaders, and decision-makers from the U.S. and Muslim societies, focusing on leaders who have yet to engage with their counterparts across cultural and national divides.

In his recent Huffington Post piece on the event, Jim Luce reported that USMEI's Project Manager, Paula Gutlove, Deputy Director at the Institute for Resource and Security Studies and a CBI consultant, outlined three areas in which USMEI is currently developing dialogues:

  • Strategic Peacebuilding: The governments of Pakistan, the U.S., and Afghanistan are struggling to resolve conflicts in a context of deep mutual distrust. Previous dialogues have had limited success in bringing together the full span of influential leaders in each society.
  • Philanthropy and Social Services: There is great potential for collaboration between philanthropic institutions in Muslim societies and the U.S. on a range of social-service needs. However, there are currently very few forums that bring together philanthropic leaders from both societies. Working with the Brookings Institution and the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, USMEI has already held a series of dialogues to remedy this.
  • Education and Awareness: USME is exploring the potential for bringing together education leaders from the U.S. and Muslim-majority countries to identify top priorities for cross-societal education. Channels for improving mutual awareness and understanding include formal education systems, media and pop culture, virtual networking, and international exchange. As USMEI continues to develop these dialogue opportunities, we will assess the potential for dialogue in each of these areas to make a significant positive contribution to improving relations between Muslim societies and the U.S.; identify, interview and recruit dialogue partners and participants; and begin convening dialogues at locations in the U.S. and abroad.

Luce stated that notable speakers included the Hon. Wendy Chamberlin, President of the Middle East Institute, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, and former Deputy High Commissioner on Refugees and Paul Stevers, founding sponsor of the Peace Through Moderation Project and founder of CharityHelp International.

The Peace through Moderation (PtM), project aims to strengthen the voices of moderation and reason in order to dissuade vulnerable populations from aligning themselves with extremist elements. Instigating education programs, media campaigns, employment projects, and inter-faith dialogues, PtM is building on the successes of the USMEI and other initiatives working in this area.

The Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) is a coalition comprised of over 60 member organizations, including the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Consensus Building Institute.