The Arab Thought Forum (ATF) is committed to the belief that state structures must be developed to serve and be responsive to an active and critical public, which is conscious of its obligations and duties, as well as its rights and entitlements
In a meeting held at the Presidential Headquarters in Ramallah and was headed by President Abbas the National Committee to Prepare for Celebrating Jerusalem – the Capital of Arab Culture – 2009 was announced. President Abbas said that selecting Jerusalem as a cultural capital for 2009 shows the major importance and interest in our Holy City and we know that the city needs many things and we know that it is being Judaized and seized piece by piece; therefore, there are other committees that we hope would be activated and there are many committees and unfortunately they don’t work. He expressed hope that the National Committee would succeed in its work and to start its work as soon as possible, stressing that he will provide all support for the committee to achieve its goals. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi read the presidential decree on the formation of the National Committee to Prepare for Celebrating Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture – 2009. Ashrawi stressed on the need to organize the work of the committee and finding the vision and common concepts for the work of the committee and means of follow up and implementation of the items of the decree in a professional and effective manner, especially that the event will be a major event. The Presidential Decree stipulates the formation of the National Committee with President Abbas as the Supreme Head of the Committee, poet Mahmoud Darweesh as Head of the Committee, and Dr. Ashrawi as Head of the Executive Office of the Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Abdel Rahman Abu Arafeh, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Naser al-Qidwa, Ibrahim Abrash (Minister of Culture), Lamees al-Alami (Minister of Education and Higher Education) and Khouloud D‘eibes (Minister of Tourism and Women Affairs), Mohammed Shtayyeh, Mazen Sinnoqrot, Yahia Yakhlaf and Ahmad Rwaidy as reporter. (47 members).