|The past ten years have
seen rapid and dramatic economic, political, social and technological
changes on a worldwide scale. Transcending borders and accelerating
people's ability to communicate and to trade across continents,
this global revolution has been described as the process of "globalization."
Like the rest of the world, Muslim societies, from Morocco
to Indonesia and Nigeria to the Islamic republics of
Central Asia, have been deeply affected by globalization. The
lives of their peoples have been changed, as have their thought
patterns, and sense of creative expression. Some have welcomed these changes, while others worry about the nature of the transformations
taking place and the capacity of those affected to respond appropriately.
One of the underlying causes of such anxiety has been a multifaceted
cultural concern: how to protect a unique heritage in the face
of global pressure; to uphold religious traditions; to preserve
linguistic purity; to defend social institutions; and ultimately,
to maintain a viable identity in the midst of a rapidly changing
To address these issues the Library of Congress has organized
a series of five symposia on Globalization and Muslim Societies,
three of which were supported by a grant from the Rockefeller
Foundation. More than three dozen intellectuals, policymakers,
organizational leaders, journalists, bankers, lawyers and others,
representing some of the best minds in the United States and
the Muslim world, have been invited to share their thoughts
on the issues and shed light on the debates.
and Women in Muslim Societies
Event Date: November 2, 2000
Six women from academia, non-governmental organizations and
Washington think tanks discussed the impact on the wearing of
the veil, interactions among women associations, empowerment
of women in the fields of economics and politics, and the facilitative
effect that the new technology has had on communication among
women around the globe.
and Law in Muslim Societies
Event Date: December 7, 2000
Ten participants from major law schools in the United States,
the World Bank and private law offices discuss the way globalization
affected Islamic law and, more particularly, personal status
law and commercial law, and how Western systems of law have
had at times to adapt to Islamic practices.
and Minorities in Muslim Societies
Event Date: January 30, 2001
Six participants discuss the impact of globalization on some
of the ethnic and religious minorities in Muslim countries including
the Baha'is, the Kurds, the Copts, the Southern Sudanese, and
Debates in Islam in the New Global Era
Event Date: June 27, 2001
Four top intellectuals from Africa, the Middle East, Europe
and the United States look at intellectual debates on the role
of Islam in the global arena that are dividing the Muslim world
today. A number of topics are covered including: Islam and democracy,
Islam and the West, and Islam and the other major world religions.
and Civil Society in the Muslim World
Event Date: November 14, 2001
Six participants explore the dimensions of civil society in
the Muslim world from a variety of perspectives. Historical
examples include the origins of civil society in early Islam,
the relationship between people and law as revealed through
Egyptian court records, and civil reform in the Ottoman Empire.
Contemporary examples include the effects of globalization on
traditional concepts of civil society in the Arab world, civil
society in Tajikistan, and the role of intellectuals in relation
to civil society in Iran.
Lecture series made possible
with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation