For a closer look at the important role the arts can play in fostering improved relations, we provide an essay by Mahnaz Anwar Fancy, Art and the Islamic World: Toward a Deeper Understanding. Fancy, the Director of Development for the Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund examines the arts as a catalyst for cultural diplomacy, focusing on the critical role new technologies are playing to help spread diverse art forms.
We also present Mightier Than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S.-Muslim World Relationship. The 2008 paper was written by Cynthia Schneider and Kristina Nelson. Schneider is the leader of the Arts and Culture Initiative of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and a professor of diplomacy and culture at Georgetown University. Nelson is the author of The Art of Reciting the Qur'an. Their paper examines the nature and scope of artistic and cultural interactions between the United States and the Muslim world today, suggesting directions for future support and initiatives.
"Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation," Obama said. "And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality."