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2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia

2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia


Dates: March 5- 6, 2016
Location: The UDC David A. Clarke School of Law (4340 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008)
CODEPINK, along with The Nation Magazine, Institute for Policy Studies, Peace Action, and many other organizations (see below), hosted a two-day summit examining the policies and practices of Saudi Arabia and U.S.-Saudi ties. This Summit addressed issues such as human rights; Saudi internal and foreign policy; and the prospects for change inside the kingdom and in U.S.-Saudi relations. Human rights advocates, diplomats, scholars, authors, and grassroots activists will come together in this first-of-its-kind international summit examining the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Summit was attended by people who:
  • Would like to learn about the roots and spread of Islamic extremism.
  • Seek solutions to violence in the Middle East.
  • Support a US foreign policy that is based on respect for human rights.
  • Advocate against global weapons proliferation.


  • Jamal Abdi, Policy Director of National Iranian American Council
  • Ali Al-Ahmed, The Gulf Institute
  • Abdulaziz Al-Hussan, Saudi human rights lawyer
  • Mohammed Al-Nimr, son of Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr
  • Mohammed Al-Shami, Yemeni activist and freelance consultant
  • Daniel Arshack, attorney for imprisoned Saudi lawyer
  • Kristine Beckerle, Human Rights Watch
  • Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK
  • Phyllis Bennis, author, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International
  • William Hartung, weapons expert, Center for International Policy
  • Chris Hedges, author
  • Julianne Hill, legal fellow for Reprieve UK
  • Raed Jarrar, American Friends Service Committee
  • Sharat G. Lin, scholar on Middle Eastern migrant labor
  • Matar Ebrahim Matar, Bahraini politician and activist
  • Ebtihal Mubarak, Saudi journalist
  • Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Executive Director, International Civil Society Network (ICAN)  
  • Vijay Prashad, author and professor, Trinity College
  • Robert Vitalis, author and professor, the University of Pennsylvania 

And more! Find their bios here.


Saturday, March 5

8:00am-9:00am Registration

9:00am-9:30am Opening Session

  • Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK

9:30am-10:15am Session I: Saudi Politics and Overview

  • Ali Al-Ahmed, The Gulf Institute
  • Abdulaziz Al-Hussan, Saudi lawyer and human rights defender
  • Moderator: Medea Benjamin

10:20am-11:00pm Session II: Women in Saudi Arabia

  • Ebtihal Mubarak, Saudi journalist
  • Kristine Beckerle, Human Rights Watch
  • Moderator: Jodie Evans

11:00am-11:50am Session III: Human Rights

  • Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International
  • Dr. Sharat G. Lin, scholar on Middle Eastern migrant labor
  • Julianne Hill, Reprieve U.S. Legal Fellow
  • Moderator: Andrea Miller

12-1pm Lunch Break & Keynote

  • Vijay Prashad, author and professor at Trinity College

1:15pm-2:15pm Session IV: Saudi Foreign Policy

  • Mohammed Al-Shami, Yemeni-American activist
  • Jamal Abdi, National Iranian American Council
  • Matar Matar, Bahraini politician and activist
  • Moderator: Joanne Landy

2:30pm-3:45pm Session V: Oil, weapons sales, and U.S.-Saudi ties

  • William Hartung, Center for International Policy
  • Raed Jarrar, American Friends Service Committee
  • Robert Vitalis, author and professor at University of Pennsylvania
  • Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies

3:50pm-4:50pm Session VI: Supporting Change in Saudi Arabia

  • Mohammed Al-Nimr, son of executed Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr
  • Daniel Arshack, lawyer for imprisoned attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair
  • Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Executive Director, International Civil Society Network (ICAN)
  • Moderator: Nada Khader

5pm-5:30pm Wrap Up

Food and conversation available at Italian Pizza Kitchen 4483 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008

7:00pm-9:00pm Wadjda film screening

Sunday, March 6

9:30am Check in

10:00am-11am Outlining and brainstorming campaigns (with open mic)

11am-12noon Breakout sessions, including:

  • supporting political prisoners
  • stopping weapons sales
  • getting 28 pages released
  • creating an international coalition
  • tracking/countering the Saudi lobby

12:00pm-12:30pm Report backs

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch Break/Interest Groups

1:30pm-2:30pm Chris Hedges keynote

2:30pm-3:00pm Wrap-up



  • Campaign for Peace and Democracy
  • Center for Inquiry
  • Coalition to End the U.S.-Saudi Alliance
  • Fellowship of Reconciliation
  • Food Not Bombs
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Historians Against the War
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • Just Foreign Policy
  • Middle East Crisis Committee
  • Peace Action
  • People Demanding Action
  • Popular Resistance
  • RootsAction
  • The Gulf Institute
  • The Markaz
  • The Nation Magazine
  • U.S. Labor Against the War
  • United For Peace and Justice
  • United Methodist General Board of Church and Society
  • United National Anti-War Coalition
  • Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
  • Veterans For Peace
  • Voices for Creative Nonviolence
  • WESPAC Foundation
  • WNY Peace Center
  • World Beyond War
  • WILPF DC Branch

More Info:

Press release can be found here.

To understand more about why CODEPINK stands against the Saudi regime, listen to CODEPINK co-founder, Medea Benjamin speak with United for Peace & Justice here.