In recent years, American perceptions of the Middle East and the Arab world have suffered as a result of political events, lack of communication and interaction, and media portrayal, among other things. Likewise, Arabs’ and Muslims’ views of the United States have grown increasingly negative, particularly among youth. Such a situation has resulted in less productive international relations and the growth in popularity of theories like the “clash of civilizations.” Despite these frequently negative perceptions of one another, Americans and Middle Easterners share many values. Recent surveys of Arabs’ attitudes towards Americans show that:
- Although they generally have negative opinions about US policies in the Middle East, Arabs still share values with Americans including freedom, democracy and justice, and they have positive opinions of American people and products.
- Most Arabs have only indirect or received knowledge about America. The principle source of that knowledge comes from the media. Arabs who have learned about America by visiting the US or by knowing American individuals have more favorable views of the US.
These examples underline the importance of cultivating personal relationships with the peoples of the Middle East. The Egyptian-American Dialogue is HANDS’ answer to the misperceptions afflicting both sides of the Middle Eastern-Western divide. This program brings together Egyptians and Americans who are active in the media, academia, civil society and religious leadership to discuss areas of mutual concern and to advocate for cross-cultural understanding within their spheres of influence. The topics include politics, religion, civil society strengthening, intercultural relations, diversity and tolerance. Through the dialogue conferences, lasting personal and professional ties are being built and joint projects are being created to encourage intercultural understanding between Americans and Egyptians.
Here is how you can help to encourage the American-Egyptian Dialogue:
Make a donation.
Host the next dialogue in your community.
Invite one of American-Egyptian Dialogue participants to give a talk in your community.
Apply to become a participant. We are looking specifically for the representatives of religious communities, civil society groups and organizations, media professionals and members of academia.
If you wish to support American-Egyptian Dialogue in any way, or if you would like to become a participant, please contact us.