Friday, March 28, 2008

The Qatar Doha Debates at BBC World Highlight World Political Issues in an Arabic Setting : The Next Debate is April 1, 2008

One very interesting and highly viewed Middle East forum (estimated audience up to now is about 300 million, but not well known in the United States, as far as we can tell) is found at The Doha Debates from Qatar which are transmitted via BBC World and sponsored by the Qatar Foundation. Videos of the debates are available for free online.

As written at the Doha Debates website online:

"For the past three years, the Doha Debates have been providing a platform for serious discussion of the hottest issues in the Arab and Islamic worlds, striving to be both controversial and informative. They have gained a huge international following through their broadcast on BBC World - the BBC's international television channel."

Selected topics are debated and the audience votes for or against one side or the other of a given question. The debate participants are selectively chosen, and often represent well-known organizations and their viewpoints, for or against the Doha Debate topic. The audience is mixed.

The last Doha Debate, for example, was held on March 3rd, 2008 and broadcast by BBC World on March 8 and March 9, 2008. The topic was:

"This House believes that Muslims are failing to combat extremism" and the vote result was that "The motion was passed".

The next upcoming debate on April 1, 2008 is:

'This House believes the Palestinians risk becoming their own worst enemy.'

Also that is a very controversial topic.

See a video of the last debate here.

From KAU to KAUST : Saudi Arabia Goes High Tech at the University Level : With Nondiscrimination in Religion, Race and Gender

Via the @Stanford Newsletter, the Stanford News Service writes at Stanford to help new Saudi university in applied math, computer science:

"Stanford is joining a team of universities working to build a major science and technology university along a marshy peninsula on Saudi Arabia's western coast.

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will be an international, graduate-level research university, sponsored by Saudi Arabia's reigning monarch. The university, intended to be a showcase for modernization, broke ground last October with a lavish ceremony; it plans to open its doors to students in September 2009. The campus will start with an endowment in excess of $10 billion—one of the largest endowments in the world."

General Stanford principles of nondiscrimination as regards religion, race and gender are to be a part of KAUST, though it is doubtful that all nations will have equal access to education at KAUST since the university is still subject to Saudi laws, which still discriminate heavily against certain groups in terms of visa entry (Israel) and for example, driving of automobiles (no women).

But, it is a start in the right direction of leaving the fruitless path of religious extremist confrontation and joining the cooperative path of all humanity.

Read the full Stanford article here.

This is really quite a sensational development in international education and the discussion in the article concerning political and religious issues related to education is quite an eye-opener.

Arbitral Standards of Review in Hall Street v. Mattel : US Supreme Court Sets Clear Standard : Statutory Grounds Exclusive for FAA Judicial Review

Via the Disputing blog, which we have added to our blogroll, we were led to this week's United States Supreme Court arbitration law decision in Hall Street v. Mattel (Hall Street Associates v. Mattel, Inc., ___ U.S. ___ (2008) (Cause No. 06-989)):

Justice Souter wasted no time in stating in the first paragraph of his majority opinion:

"The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA or Act), 9 U. S. C. §1 et seq., provides for expedited judicial review to confirm, vacate, or modify arbitration awards. §§9–11 (2000 ed.and Supp. V). The question here is whether statutory grounds for prompt vacatur and modification may be supplemented by contract. We hold that the statutory grounds are exclusive."

OK. That's clear. Gee, does that exist in law?

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