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.
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.
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.
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: