An Open Letter on the Middle East to President Elect Barack Obama

Elza Maalouf, Barack Obama

An Open Letter on the Middle East

to President Elect

Barack Obama

From Elza S. Maalouf
Center for Human Emergence-Middle East
25 November 2008

Dear President Elect Obama,

Your election was celebrated by young Arabs all over the Middle East. In Syria they call you “Abu Hussein” an endearing term given to politicians they feel close to. Young people affiliated with our center in Kuwait, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine wished they had the right to vote for you. Lebanese youth proudly wore Obama T-shirts. “Yes we can” quickly became a slogan heard on Arab streets and our young people added “Yes we will.” This enthusiasm for an American political figure is unprecedented in the Arab world. For this and for the sake of global well-being we hope that your administration seizes the moment to help facilitate emergence in the Arab world; an emergence that will be lead by young- progressive Arab leaders and supported by a US administration that is ready to pioneer fresh approaches in foreign policy.

It is no secret that the key to restoring our credibility in the Arab world, is by –first and foremost- resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For several years the Center for Human Emergence Middle East (CHE-ME) has dedicated its resources to uncovering the blockages that have prevented sustainable peace from taking root. We believe that in order for any Middle East peace road map to succeed a Palestinian Systemic Development Map has to be implemented first. Together with our Palestinian partners we have been working on a grass roots movement called “Build Palestine Initiative” in which we identified specific developmental steps that are congruent with the Palestinian value-systems and will be most effective in building capacities in Palestinian society. This movement has gained critical mass among progressive Palestinians who advocate self-reliance and we simply must continue supporting them.

Your choice of Chief of Staff and Secretary of State was met with a lot of apprehension in the Arab media. Polls show that over 60% of Arabs think that both Rahm Emanuel and Senator Clinton will be pro-Israel. The way we see it at the CHE-ME is that under the mandate for change that you are leading, pro-Israel should mean the following:

  1. A US administration that’s actively participating in creating a peaceful neighboring Palestinian state.
  2. A US administration that supports Israel in becoming a full development partner to the Palestinians in business, education, healthcare and progressive social programs.
  3. A US administration that supports the Palestinians in creating a vision of 21st Century Palestine where both states can thrive and let thrive.

The Center for Human Emergence-Middle East will be presenting to your administration a position paper detailing our culturally-fit approach to solving the conflict, the breakthrough results we have achieved so far on a grass roots level, and recommended systemic strategies for ushering in sustainable peace.

Real change in the Middle East and in Palestine must come from new ways of thinking, fresh approaches to understanding cultural dynamics, and innovative ways to actually meet the developmental needs of people. We are certain you recognized many of these principles in your work in community development in south Chicago. Simply "doing more of the same" that has produced this situation, will not bring the outcome we all desire.

As a proud Arab-American I am encouraged to see the most powerful democracy in the world having the potential to become the most conscious democracy under your leadership. My hope is that the enthusiasm you brought to Arab youths is sustained by a bold action-plan that can support transformation and emergence in the Middle East.


Elza S. Maalouf
Chief Executive Officer
Center for Human Emergence- Middle East

Elza MaaloufElza S. Maalouf is the CEO of the Center for Human Emergence-Middle East, a non-profit research and strategic design center that integrates different modes of thought and value-system priorities with geo-economic elements within the Arab world. She is leading innovation within the Islamic Arab world to identify complex thinking that will facilitate the emergence of Arabs into their 21st century Renaissance.

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He's just a New World Order puppet.
Snap out of the delusion guys.
There are hard times coming
You may be very right about him being a puppet. Though there is a bit more order to this new world. No one will go far enough for me until at least 50% of our guns and bombs budget go to building the electric car we can plug into our solar powered roofs. That is how we can export peace to the world. With Israel building a wall... I don't see any fruits coming from their ways. If they were children of Abraham they would not have the bomb, and neither would US.-(100 million a day I hear we pay for upkeep of a weapon which must never fall again.) That is the change I want to see. When he does it, I hope it will prove you wrong Christopher.
There is a hard times coming, as change will never come easy and the accumulated cost of our global national competition free market system that made the rich richer and the poor poorer need to be payed.

but one worst problem we have is cynicism and conspiracy theories.
who would you trust? how can we make change without trust?
Leader of Vision

Leader of transformation
Universal change for peace
Healing people in coming together
Race and color blending in unity of spirit
Words of wisdom sent to the world
With an iron fist of determination
Filling minds with good intentions overall
Not an easy task to resolve
For human rights and justice from eight years
Of the same old rhyme without any reason
General treason of the worst kind
Worldly crimes seen with eyes closed
Hearts beating numb with discontentment
Hatred consuming nations
Mental and emotional exhaustion
Stagnating in a limbo state
Staying with the familiar verbal hate

To live life in a new direction
Where everyone benefits
Spending money we do not have
By paying off government debts
Living the American Dream
Beyond our financial means of support
Lacking in funds from old politicians on the run
Going nowhere

Smoking guns shooting off blanks aimlessly
Without focus or direction of a positive plan
With new destination
A man with a vision is the Obama mission
To learn and listen without discrimination

Written by Shelly Wiseberg, 2008

Time for a major change for all people, peace.
focus and direction of a positive plan
With new destination
A man with a vision is the Obama mission
To learn and listen without discrimination

thank you
Your very welcome, Shelly
Hello World, in Peace you will go!

This is a very nice way to show President Elect Barack Obama that a big part of The Worlds Youth have a deep trust in him, AND a deeper longing for Peace.

I really wanted to vote for him myself, but living in Norway I haven't that right, so I focus my thoughts on WorldPeace, pay respect to everyone I meet and hope that the respect and peace will grow.

My wishes goes to Presinent Elect Barack Obama, that he will stand calmly in the winds from the big companies around the world, and specially his own country, so that they will not talk him and his crew around, like they have done with earlier Presidents.

And then I wish The hole World and everything and everyone on it A Peaceful, Joyable Lifetime!
Blesses for you All!
H.E Obama

All my wishes go to President Obama and wife. Aa best and i hope his dream come true i like him , he know how to handly his power
, he can give to much to aroud a world,regards

it his wish for the change but it is all of us who need to shift to a new stage of relationship in all levels of life from our relationship to the environment, economy, relationship between groups and nations and between ourselves. it is our change to create and Obama was elected to help us manifest change.
Elza, I agree with your statements. You are an amazing woman. Keep up the wonderful work that your are doing.
I hope that the USA opens her eyes to the atrocities happening in Palestine. Maybe there is hope for Palestine at last. God help us do what is right and just.
Peace, love and harmony.
Good luck Mr. Obama , you are the new hope for the whole world

Best Regard ,

There are many commendable ideas in the letter, however I'm interested to see that the initiative for peace does not mention the need to perhaps address the actions of the Hamas forces in Gaza, who are continually sending rockets into Israel. No doubt that the actions of the Israeli soldiers also needs to be addressed in this respect.

In order to begin the peace making process we must begin with peace. As the great American peace activist, A.J. Muste said "There is no way to peace, peace is the way."

Until both sides of the conflict choose to act in peace, how can trust be built?

In peace, shalom, salaam, Ben


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