The Arab Association for Muslim Educators (AEME) held its first consultative meeting on 21-22 November 2015
in Amman-Jordan under the title “Towards institutionalising the values of religious enlightenment in
contemporary Arab Culture”. The meeting was sponsored by International Forum for Islamic Dialogue (IFID)
in support of an initiative by Jordanian youth on the enlightenment of religious educators.
The meeting was attended by 40 NGO participants representing more than 30 leading organisations on
dialogue, education and enlightenment in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia,
Bahrain, and UAE. The meeting brought together distinct NGOs from Arab countries and Turkey into a
shared cooperative platform and brought to the forefront the importance of “religious enlightenment”.
At the first session, participants presented their views on and discussed the “principles of enlightenment and
its shared values”. Participants raised several questions about the concept of “religious enlightenment” and
its “core values”. In this context, the participants discussed freely and responsibly enlightenment’s challenges,
including multiple approaches to dealing with founding text of Islam and the religious heritage.
At the second session, they discussed best practices in creating an association for educational
entrepreneurs. Participants included in their scope formal, informal and non-formal educational projects as
well as intellectuals and writers in the Arab region. These discussions aimed at founding a formal association
to coordinate and support educational initiatives, including networking and building organisational
capacities of its future members. They saw the ultimate goal behind such an association as to consolidate
enlightenment values in the region, increase its influence on societal dynamics, and provide Arab youth with
a buffer against the abuse of Islam by extremists.