The Arab Public Issues Forums Project: A Two-Year Action Plan
This project action plan will comprise of 4 stages.
Stage One: Issue identification and framing
Stage Two: Holding Forums
Stage Three: Analysis of forums results and drafting of results report
Stage Four: Publicizing forums report
Stage One: Issue identification and framing (Month 1 – 8)
We will organize a three-day seminar March 29-31, 2007 with the Arab Network members to focus on the process of public deliberation and how to frame issues to promote public deliberation. At the end of this seminar, three issues will be selected by the members for framing. They will then use the period of April – June to conduct background research on each of these issues, to organize focus groups to gauge public opinion on these issues, and to put together a draft issue framework. These issue frameworks will be reviewed during the July 07 meeting of the Network to be held in Dayton, Ohio. The Network members will agree on three basic issue frameworks to be used during the cycle of issue forums in each of the 7 countries. We will also conduct a session on moderating forums and prepare a moderator’s guide.
Stage Two: Holding Forums (Month 9 – 14)
Forty forums will be held in each of the 7 participating countries. These forums will involve representative segments of the population in each country --- men and women, old and young, educated and illiterate people, residents of urban and rural areas, members of tribal groups, and religious and secular people. In addition to forums, we will administer pre- and post-forum face-to-face interviews (in the case of illiterate participants) and issue-based surveys. During this phase, the network’s coordinator will conduct three trips to the region to monitor the conduct of the forums and serve as the contact person among the moderators in the 7 Arab countries.
Stage Three: Analysis of forums’ results and drafting of research report (Month 15-18)
All forums surveys from 7 Arab countries will be processed by one Arab public opinion research center (the center will be identified shortly). Once processed, the network members will convene for their third meeting (around Month 17) to decide on the main themes of the final research report and to assign the responsibility for writing to three respective members of the network. The coordinator will serve as the editor of the three reports. All network members will receive drafts of all research reports and asked to give their comments prior to the production of the final draft.
Stage Four: Publicizing the forums report (Month 19-20)
One master forums report presenting the Arab public attitudes about the three issues at hand, both pre- and post-deliberation, will be completed. The report will be drafted in Arabic and translated into English. The report will be presented simultaneously in an Arab capital and in DC. The presentation in DC will be co-hosted with an Arab-American organization like AAI (Arab-American Institute) or ADC. Three Arab representatives of the network (including the coordinator) will attend the presentation in DC.
A project final report will be drafted and submitted to the Kettering Foundation. Randa Slim will work with the project coordinator on the production of this report. The report will be produced in English. The report will attempt to answer the following research themes:
--- How was public deliberation framed and defined in the Arab region?
--- How was public deliberation practiced?
--- What is now the Arab narrative about public deliberation?
--- What obstacles faced the practice of public deliberation in the Arab region?
--- What are this initiative’s next steps?