Announcing The Bahrain Foundation For Reconciliation and Civil Discourse

 

I’m extremely proud to announce the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse (BFRCD)!  This is something I – and my soon to be announced board of trustees – have been working on very hard for the last several months.

A quick history… creating some sort of foundation or society to promote social reconciliation has been on my mind since last year.  I’ve been talking about reconciliation since February last year, and was keen to start something.  But I was only going to do it if I got the endorsement from HRH the Crown Prince.

I discussed it with him in January, and we got his official endorsement soon after that.  I’m so grateful to him for this, and will never forget this gesture.

Letter from HRH the CP endorsing the Foundation. A kind gesture that I will never forget.

 

It seems this has caused some confusion, and has led some to believe that this foundation is some sort of reconciliation initiative from the Crown Prince.  It was even discussed on one or two TV channels, including Al-Aalam, before I even had a press conference to announce it!

Just to confirm, it’s my private foundation, in which I hope I can make a small difference somehow to this wonderful country that has given me so much.  Also, this is a non-political Foundation which aims to help facilitate social reconciliation among Bahrainis, and help facilitate communication among the different sides.  Our aim is not political reconciliation, as this needs to be sorted out by the politicians.

Anyway, we’re having our first event next week, which will include a lecture from an expert on Northern Ireland.  More details coming soon.

So I announced the Foundation during a press conference this morning, and it should be in all the papers tomorrow inshallah. Below is the speech I gave at the press conference (in both languages), which gives more details about what we plan to do.

Let me know what you think.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to announce the formation of the Bahrain Foundation For Reconciliation and Civil Discourse.  My name is Suhail Algosaibi, and I am the Founder of the Foundation.
This Foundation is a private, non-profit organisation whose aim is to help combat the social and sectarian rift that has engulfed our beloved island kingdom.  As you all know, the recent crisis has caused a sectarian divide that we haven’t seen in at least a generation, and this divide threatens to deepen and expand, as more and more children and young adults are consumed by hate.
The Foundation aims to help bridge this divide, and help bring the people of Bahrain closer together into a cohesive and unified whole.   And I’m proud of the fact that the Foundation is officially endorsed by HRH the Crown Prince, who is deeply concerned about the social and sectarian problems facing our society today.
I shall announce my fellow board of trustees in the next couple weeks, as soon as we have the approval from the Ministry of social Affairs.
I believe that one of the biggest challenges we face today is the lack of direct and respectful, face-to-face communication between those with opposing yet very passionate views.  The Foundation aims to help facilitate communication (or civil discourse) between the opposing sides.

Let me stress, The Foundation’s mandate is social reconciliation only, not political reconciliation, as this is the jurisdiction of the politicians.
But we won’t stop there, over the long term the Foundation aims to address various societal challenges that are facing Bahrain.

With that in mind, allow me to share The Foundation’s mission statement:

“With a view towards greater social cohesion and harmony, the Foundation exists to facilitate the exchange of ideas and values across all segments of Bahrain’s communities, with the purpose of promoting reconciliation and civil discourse.”

And Our Guiding Principles are as follows:
1.    We believe that tolerance, understanding and mutual respect are vital for the betterment of our society.
2.    We believe that all members of our society regardless of age, race, gender, religion or sect, have a right to be heard.
3.    We are open-minded and willing to listen without prejudice.
4.    We believe in equality and that every individual should be judged on their own merit.
So how will this be accomplished?  We will accomplish this through the following activities:
1.    Organize and facilitate public conferences and social events, to facilitate exchanges of ideas and values across the various segments of the community; including race, religion, nationality, socioeconomic status and other divides; with the purpose of promoting reconciliation and civil discourse.
2.    Bring in experts with experience in conflict resolution to facilitate workshops and programs aimed at the youth of Bahrain.
3.    Promote social cohesion and unity through the use of social media.
4.    Act as intermediaries and mediators in the facilitation of confidential dialog across the various segments of society to avert conflict and to promote unity
5.    Promote advanced research and white papers on topics related to reconciliation, mediation and civil discourse.

In conclusion, I would like to add that I believe wholeheartedly that Bahrain can become better that it was before, and become a shining example of tolerance and respectful co-existence in the region.  Thank you.
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Since WordPress does not like Arabic and English on one page, I’ve uploaded the Arabic version of the speech here: BFRCD خطاب المؤتمر الصحفي2

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and talk to you soon.

PS  Some photos from today’s press conference:

13 Responses to Announcing The Bahrain Foundation For Reconciliation and Civil Discourse

  1. Saqer Al Khalifa 12 June 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Congratulations my dear brother and friend. Moreover, thank you. May Allah bless you in your efforts. I hope it means something but I would like to sign my endorsement here as well.
    All the best,

    Saqer Al Khalifa

    • admin 12 June 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      Thank you very much Bu Salman. Much obliged.

  2. Mahmood Nasser Al-Yousif 12 June 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Well done Suhail. May Allah bless your steps to what shall be an honest and true reconciliation drive to heal the deep wounds which have afflicted our beloved country. It can be done, but it will take a lot of very hard work. I know that you will give this your best to ensure the success of this honorable endeavor.

    God bless you my friend.

    • admin 13 June 2012 at 2:56 am #

      Thanks Bu Aref, really appreciate it my friend.

  3. Mishari Abu Raseyn 13 June 2012 at 12:17 am #

    Last thing we need is a Saudi spearheading reconciliation in Bahrain.

    Bahrainis don’t need yet another Bedouin teaching them how to be compassionate and brotherly, they have been so for centuries.

  4. Zainab Bucheeri 13 June 2012 at 4:46 am #

    The time has come to stop and become the country we all know we are in our hearts, there is no reason to do tomorrow what we can do today. The time has come to rise to our potential. Let us be the great country we all envision. Let us listen to each other, let us all get to work. We can’t do this alone, but we can do it together.

    All the best,
    Zainab Bucheeri

  5. Khalid Al Ameri 13 June 2012 at 6:02 am #

    We all live amongst each other, but there are few who are going to change the way we live amongst each other, you are one of those few my brother. Wishing you all the success in this great new venture, and wishing Bahrain peace and prosperity inshAllah.

  6. Sara Musaifer 13 June 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Suhail, thank you so much for taking the lead with this amazing initiative. I too believe that now is the perfect time to work on reconciliation, on the ground, with a significant focus on our youth. I believe in our country and I believe wholeheartedly in the goodness of our people. Together we will heal Bahrain’s wounds, create a brighter future for us all and for the generations to come. I personally have done some work locally and overseas on conflict resolution and restorative justice and I would love to join your movement. Please let me know how I can get involved. Thanks again!!

    Best, Sara

  7. Margie 13 June 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Congratulations and God bless your endeavor, Suhail. It is a wonderful and much needed initiative.

  8. Mighat Alramsi 13 June 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Do what you do best, being a royal ass kisser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeVa3WP0QLQ

  9. Panama 15 June 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    In an attempt to advance reconciliation efforts, Bahrain launched a new group today that has the full backing of Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The Bahrian Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse (BFRCD) was launched at a ceremony at the Kempinski Grand Hotel in Manama, and appears to be an attempt by the Crown Prince to revive his role as a possible mediator in the Gulf kingdom’s deepening crisis. The Foundation has been formed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and values across all segments of society and promote reconciliation and social unity. Tensions continue to grow amid street demonstrations and crackdowns by police. However, BFRCD founder and board of trustees chairman Suhail Ghazi Algosaibi said the time was right for an initiative to promote open discussion between all members of society regardless of age, race, gender or sect. “Our mission of social cohesion and harmony, backed by a solid foundation, highest level of support and clear milestones and objectives has already resonated with Bahrain’s community,” he said.

  10. Jan Ryan 16 June 2012 at 2:38 am #

    It will be very difficult for people to trust you after the comments you’ve published in the past that many know were untrue.

    However, it would be wonderful if even one person feels they’ve been listened to in a spirit of true reconciliation.

    I haven’t seen pigs fly or pink elephants but I always live in hope. If this is genuine, then good luck.

  11. Ahmed 16 June 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    I would like to suggest forming a committee within the (BFRCD), in which one of its main goals would be rebuilding some of the demolished Mosques in bahrain ( #Reconciliation-Time). After that who knows? Why not expand and help renovating houses and make life easier to the less fortunate.
    Race and religion have no value to me in this certain project. At the end we are all equally human beings.
    I would definitely be one of the first volunteers to do any hard labor work. I believe that Labor/Team work is good for your soul.

    #FoodForThought
    Good Luck either way

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