Foundation for the Future (democracy promotion)

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History and links

In November 2005 Liz Cheney and Condi Rice were in Bahrain at the launch of the Foundation for the Future:
They arrived [in Jeddah] after attending the Forum of the Future in Bahrain, which saw the launch of two institutions. The first is the Fund of the Future worth $100 million set up to provide capital for small and medium businesses. The second is the Foundation of the Future worth $55 million to support NGOs and projects for promoting freedom of the press and democracy.
The Foundation for the Future was installed with some $35 million seed funds from the U.S. State Department, some $10 million from Bahrain and $11 million from various other state donors. As Clemons points out, the State Department in a recent press conference couldn't even say where the foundation has its office. It also was not sure what Shaha Riza was actually doing there. On the foundations website there is no mention of a current office and no phone number.
The domain is registered with this data:
Admin Name:BMENA Foundation for future
Admin Organization:BMENA Foundation for future
Admin Street1:1350 Connecticut Ave
Admin Street2:Suite 1000
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Washington
Admin State/Province:DC
Admin Postal Code:20036
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.2022347370
That address and suite is identical to the address of the Eurasia Foundation. That foundation has a project manager with the name Neil Stormer. Its phone number is (202) 234-7370.
The Eurasia Foundation's task is to support Democracy movements in former Soviet Union states. Its executive committee includes luminaries like Albright, Baker, Eagleburger and Frank C. Carlucci III of The Carlyle Group (Carlucci has been on the NED Board of Directors). It is financed by the United States Agency for International Development. USAID has been and probably is still used as a cover for CIA operations.
President of the Foundation for the Future is Bakhtiar Amin. He is an ex-pat Iraqi-Kurd who was promoting the danger of Saddam's non-existing weapons of mass destruction before the current war on Iraq. He became Minister of Human Rights in the Bremer/Allawi administration after the U.S. invasion. Allawi has worked with the CIA. Bakhtiar Amin's wife is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She was a guest of Laura Bush at the State of the Union speech in February 2005.
The Foundation for the Future has spent no money so far on any grants - its supposed task - but has held three expensive executive board meetings.
While the Eurasia Foundation claims to have spent $360 million for democracy in former Soviet Union countries, the mission statement of the Foundation for the Future says:
The Foundation for the Future will support the people of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa in their efforts to advance and strengthen freedom and democratic trends and practices.
It is essentially the same task, but within a different region.[1]

The Wolfowitz saga

In September 2005, the Riza deal was finalised, and the World Bank and State Department agreed she would be seconded to the department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She was given the task of developing a foundation that would focus on reform in the Middle East and North Africa. It would eventually be called the Foundation for the Future. (At the time, Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of the vice-president, was a principal deputy assistant secretary in the bureau, coordinating Middle East initiatives.) But there apparently was some question about her status at the State Department. The next month, J. Scott Carpenter, a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, faxed a note to the World Bank saying that “we do not view Ms. Riza as detailed or seconded to the U.S. Government.” He offered to “further refine this arrangement.” Documents released by the World Bank do not indicate what subsequently transpired between the State Department and the Bank regarding Riza’s employment status.
Over a year later, on October 1, 2006, Anwar Ibrahim, chairman of the Foundation for the Future, wrote Robin Cleveland, a senior Wolfowitz aide at the Bank, and requested the transfer of Riza from the State Department to the Foundation for the Future. Two months later, after Cleveland instructed the Bank’s vice-president of human resources to approve the transfer, the Bank okayed the switch.
The Anwar letter and other Bank documents related to this transfer did not mention that Anwar is a longtime friend of Wolfowitz. One of Asia’s most prominent Muslim politicians, Anwar was a former deputy prime minister of Malaysia. He and Wolfowitz met and developed a friendship in the mid-1980s, when Wolfowitz was U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, according to Aasil Ahmad, an adviser to Anwar. In 1998, after addressing a rally protesting the government, Anwar was arrested and subsequently jailed on corruption and sodomy charges. During his years in jail, Wolfowitz was an outspoken champion of Anwar. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Anwar, while still imprisoned, wrote an essay condemning the attacks and calling on the Muslim world to address “the suffering inflicted on the Muslim masses in Iraq by its dictator.”
When Anwar was released from prison in 2004, Wolfowitz flew to Germany to meet him. The next year, Anwar, a former finance minister for Malaysia, endorsed Wolfowitz’s appointment to the Bank, though he noted that he didn’t share Wolfowitz’s view of the Iraq war. (“The best the Americans can do is to withdraw their forces from Iraq,” Anwar said.) These days, Anwar is back in Malaysia, advising the PKR opposition party, which is led by his wife, and preparing to run for president.
While helping to establish the Foundation for the Future at the State Department, Riza had recruited Anwar to serve as its initial adviser, according to Ahmad. The two then went about selecting a board of directors and drawing up the mandate for the group, which calls on the foundation to “advance and strengthen freedom and democratic trends and practices” in Middle Eastern and North African nations by supporting reform, media, human rights, and women’s groups in those countries. The foundation, which is not a US government entity, has received a $35 million funding commitment from the United States and about $20 million in pledges from other governments. The board includes prominent citizens of Muslim nations. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is the only American on the board.
The foundation has not gotten off to a big start. It has yet to provide a single grant. Its first president, Bakhtiar Amin, an Iraqi who served as a minister in the first interim government set up following the invasion of Iraq, left the post after a short time in the job. “He was not up to the task,” says a source who has worked with the foundation. No replacement has yet been selected. The group also does not have a chief financial officer or a chief operations officer at this time. Last year, it decided to open its main Middle East office in Beirut—right before the war in Lebanon. It has no permanent office in Washington. Email requests for information on its activities have gone unanswered. Its website lists no phone number. But Ahmad, the adviser to Anwar, says the foundation will soon begin awarding grants, perhaps in the beginning of June. Riza, he says, has continued to handle the day-to-day operations of the foundation. Riza, who is qualified for the job, has not been talking to the media.
Bloggers have raised conspiratorial questions about the Foundation. The available evidence is that the outfit is legitimate, though it has been beset with logistical problems. But until it gets around to handing out grants, its work and aims cannot be fully assessed.
In the Paul and Shaha saga, the work (or non-work) of the Foundation for the Future is not the main issue. Riza ended up there after a Wolfowitz friend (Anwar) wrote the Bank and asked for Riza to be detailed to the Foundation—and a Wolfowitz crony (Cleveland) said yes. Whether such actions violate any Bank rules, this is incestuous. Consider the overall scenario: thanks to her boyfriend, Shaha Riza, after receiving a hefty pay raise, could serve as an adviser to a barely-functioning Foundation she helped create, working with a friend of her romantic partner, and pull in $200,000 to $400,000 annually over the next ten years. And then she could retire with a $110,000 per year pension. This is quite a deal for the average foundation aide in Washington. In all that, is there nothing wrong? (Wolfowitz attorney Robert Bennett told Newsweek that it was Riza who “worked up the numbers” and pressed Wolfowitz to craft such generous terms.) [2]

Board of Directors


Anwar Ibrahim was Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1993-1998 and also served as Minister of Finance from 1991-1998. Highly respected for his principled stance against corruption and his skillful management of the Malaysian economy during the turbulent period of its financial crisis, Anwar is also viewed as one of the forefathers of the Asian Renaissance and a leading proponent of greater cooperation among civilizations. He is committed to the fight against poverty, is an ardent supporter of democracy and is an authoritative voice in bridging the gap between East and West.

He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and serves as Honorary President of AccountAbility. He frequently consults major international organizations on issues of governance and accountability and he acts as an advisor to the People’s Justice Party in Malaysia.


Rahma Bourqia, Morocco Rahma Bourqia is president of University Hassan II Mahommedia. The first woman appointed to the presidency of a Moroccan university after a long academic carrier as a professor of sociology and anthropology, dean of a school of humanities. Bourqia has written books and many articles on Moroccan society, culture, women, youth and values. She is an expert on women's rights in Morocco and the Arab World. As a member of the committee created to discuss the status of women in Morocco, Bourqia had a part and contributed in the adoption of the country's New Family Law in 2003 which recognized the equality between men and women. She has been actively involved in the reform of higher education in Morocco. She has been active in breaking traditional cultural, social and gender roles throughout her professional career and her commitment to the change and to the development. Bourqia has a strong track record of working for reform and was nominated by Moroccan civil society. Dr. Bourqia is also a member of the Morocco's High Council for Education.


Kamel Abu Jaber, Jordan Dr. Kamel S. Abu Jaber has been president of the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy since 1997. Formerly, he served as minister of the economy (1973), as a senator in the Jordan upper house of parliament (1993-1997), and as minister of foreign affairs for Jordan (1991-1993). Abu Jaber has held the posts of professor of political science (1971, 1979-1980, 1985), dean of the faculty of economics and commerce (1972-1979) and director of the Strategic Studies Centre at the University of Jordan; he also served as associate professor of political science at Smith College (USA, 1967-1969) and as visiting professor at Emory University, the Carter Centre (Atlanta, USA, 1989). Abu Jaber holds a PhD in political science from the University of Syracuse (USA, 1965). He is the author of numerous papers and publications, including The Palestinians: People of the Olive Tree (1993), Political Parties and Elections in Israel (1985), The Israeli Political System (1973), The United States of America and Israel (1971) and The Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party (1966).


Laila al Hamad, Kuwait A Kuwaiti national, Laila Al-Hamad has been working on issues of governance and civil society empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa for the last 10 years. Ms. Al-Hamad is currently with the World Bank where she focuses on regional efforts to engage civil society, parliamentarians, and the media in the region, including through initiatives that aim at building the capacity of parliament and civil society on budgetary oversight and that promote social inclusion for women and children. She has contributed to several governance initiatives in the region, including as a team-member of the World Bank flagship regional report entitled "Better Governance for Development in the Middle East and North Africa: Enhancing Inclusiveness and Accountability." Prior to joining the World Bank, Ms. Al-Hamad was Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy. She has authored several articles and publications including "Gender Equality in East Asia: Progress, and the Challenges of Economic Progress and Political Change,” "Women's Organizations in the Arab World,” and "Political Participation in the Middle East and North Africa: Casting the Net Wider” (forthcoming). She holds a B.A. from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Bakhtiar Amin was born in Kirkuk. He has served as Minister of Human Rights of Iraq and Executive Director of the International Alliance for Justice (IAJ), which coordinates a network of 275 international non-governmental organizations from more than 120 countries. The IAJ called for the establishment of an International Ad Hoc Tribunal to investigate the Iraqi leadership's crimes against humanity, crimes of war and genocide. He was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and has a master's degree in international relations. He pursued doctoral studies in geopolitics and studied journalism in Sweden. He has two decades' experience in the field of international human rights and humanitarian work. He has worked extensively on issues involving minorities, indigenous peoples, women's rights, land mines, the International Criminal Court, freedom of expression, liberating prisoners and conflict resolution. He has participated in fact-finding missions in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, among others.

Claret started working as a journalist, in Spain, when there was no freedom of speech and writing. He has been the director of the Spanish news agency (EFE) for sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. Andreu Claret returned to Spain as the chief of EFE News Agency in Barcelona (1992-2000). As an expert on international affairs, he has published analysis in the most important Spanish newspapers and in international magazines. His fields of knowledge are the challenges of developing countries, relations between the West and the Arab and Muslim world, Spanish foreign policy in the Mediterranean space, and interaction between cultures, civilisations and the role of civil societies.

In 2000, he was appointed as director of the Catalan Institute of the Mediterranean (ICM), a think tank dealing with political, social and cultural challenges of the Mediterranean area. Under Claret's direction, the ICM became the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed, a larger institution participated by local and national public institutions, and backed by some of the largest Spanish companies. Claret was IEMed's director till December 2005. IEMed became one of the leading institutions for cultural dialogue and cooperation between Europe and the southern Mediterranean countries. Its activities were focused on the relations with Arab countries, Turkey and Israel.

Burhan Ghalioun, Syria Burhan Ghalioun is professor of Political Sociology and Director of the Center for Contemporary Eastern Studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Dr. Ghalioun was a member of the 2002, 2003, and 2004 Advisory Group of the United Nation's Arab Human Development Report, and was a contributing author in 2003. Among his published works are the following: A Manifesto for Democracy, The Elite Society, The Assassination of the Mind, The Arab Dilemma: The State Against the Nation. He is based in Paris and publishes in French, Italian and Spanish.

Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey Ibrahim Kalin, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA and the director of the SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research based in Ankara, Turkey. He received his B.A. in History from the University of Istanbul, Turkey, M.A. from the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), Malaysia and Ph. D. from the George Washington University, Washington DC. At Holy Cross, he teaches a number of courses on Islam including Introduction to Islam, Introduction to the Qur’an, Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Sufism, Islam and the West, and Islam in the Modern World. His field of concentration is post-Avicennan Islamic philosophy with research interests in Ottoman intellectual history, Islamic scientific tradition, interfaith dialogue, mysticism, and comparative philosophy. He has contributed to several encyclopedia including MacMillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2nd Edition and Encyclopedia of Religion 2nd Edition He has published widely on Islamic philosophy and the relations between Islam and the West.

Jamil Mroue, Lebanon Jamil Mroue owned the London-based Al Hayat newspaper, and is responsible for reviving the newspaper. Mr. Mroue is currently the Editor in Chief of the Beirut's Daily Star (Lebanon) newspaper. The Daily Star, thanks to Mr. Mroue's efforts, is now the foremost English language newspaper in the region, in part because he allows it to serve as a platform for the voices of reform in the region. Mr. Mroue is an alumnus of the Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retired as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Nominated to the court by President Reagan, she took the oath of office on September 25, 1981. O'Connor was previously appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals by Governor Bruce Babbitt (1979-1981), and served as judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona (1975-1979). She served as Arizona state senator in 1969 and subsequently reelected to two two-year terms (1969-1975) and was assistant attorney general in Arizona (1965-1969). O'Connor serves as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary, on the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation, the executive board of the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative, and the American Bar Association Museum of Law board of directors. She is a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Arizona, State Bar of California, Maricopa County Bar Association, Arizona Judges' Association, National Association of Women Judges, and Arizona Women Lawyers' Association. She holds a B.A. (with Great Distinction) and an LL.B. (Order of the Coif) from Stanford University, where she was a member of the board of editors of the Stanford Law Review.

Abdul Rahman al Rashed took over as manager of Al Arabiya with more than 20 years media experience behind him. Before joining Al Arabiya, Mr. al Rashed was the editor-in-chief for the pan-Arab al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper in London for five years and was known for his daily columns that frequently sparked debate in the Arab world. Mr. al Rashed also worked at al-Majalla magazine for ten years and served as the foreign correspondent for Al Jazeera in Washington until 1985. Mr. al Rashed also presented an investigative journalism program on MBC titled "al-Ain al-Thaleetha” or "the Third Eye.” He earned a bachelor's degree in visual media from the American University in Washington and was involved in many academic research projects and documentary production.

Naguib Sawiris, Egypt As Founder and Chairman of Orascom Telecom, Mr. Sawiris has led the growth of the company in a dynamic pace, to be the leading regional company in Telecommunications, GSM operations, Internet Services, satellite and related communication services. Orascom Telecom operates GSM networks in 9 different countries in the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian Subcontinent, in addition to a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and satellite service providers serving approximately 300 million people. During the past two years, Mr. Sawiris has managed the company's aggressive and visionary investment strategy making it one of the largest international GSM operators in the region.

In addition, Mr. Sawiris is Chairman of Orascom Technology Systems and Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (ECMS), commonly known as MobiNil. Mr. Sawiris is a member of both the Board of Trustees and the board of Directors of the Arab Thought Foundation, a board of Trustees member and Head of the Financial Committee of the French University in Cairo, a board member of the Egyptian Counsel for Foreign Affairs, the Consumer Rights Protection Association and the Cancer Society of Egypt. He holds a diploma of Mechanical Engineering with a Masters in Technical Administration from the Swiss Institute of Technology, ETH Switzerland and a Diploma from the German Evangelical School, Cairo, Egypt. Mr. Sawiris is married, with four children and lives in Cairo, Egypt. He speaks Arabic, English, German and French.

Dr. Cornelio Sommaruga, Switzerland Cornelio Sommaruga (Switzerland) is currently Chairman of the Board of the UICC International Cancer Foundation in Geneva as well as President of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. He is, in addition, a member of the Board of the Open Society Institute, Budapest and served as a member of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Prior to that, he was President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (1987-99). From 1984 to 1986 he served as Switzerland's State Secretary for External Economic Affairs. From 1960, he had a long and distinguished career as a Swiss diplomat, including a period from 1973 as Deputy Secretary-General of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in Geneva and 1978-1983 Ambassador Delegate of the Swiss Government for Trade Agreements. In 1977-78 he served as President of the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Cornelio Sommaruga has a degree in law from the Zurich University, has seven honorary Dr. degrees Fribourg, Minho (Portugal), Bologna, Nice, Seoul National University, Geneva, Webster) and three Presidential awards (Prague, Bratislava and Tel Aviv). He is married, with 6 children and 15 grand children.



  1. ^ Wolfowitz, CIA, Lebanon - Get the picture? April 16, 2007
  2. ^ Mickie Ojijo Wolfowitz-Riza juicy scam story for WB loanees Kenya Times, 8 May 2007.