On Tuesday, November 13th, the National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations convened its Second Annual Conference ‘Libya at the Crossroads’. We assembled over one hundred attendees for presentations and conversations on Libya - discussion was spearheaded by our esteemed guest speakers and moderated by the National Council’s Founding President, Dr. Hani Shennib.
The day consisted of three major panel discussions on politics, security, and the economy in Libya. The breadth of topics covered set our event apart from any other conducted on Libya in Washington within the last year. The politics session dealt with constitutional drafting, parliamentary reform, shortcomings in the Libyan Political Agreement, and current regional interests playing out in Libya. In the security session, the speakers turned our attention to the strategies of terrorist elements in Libya, the state of armed forces in the country, internal displacement challenges, and the role of civil society organizations and Islamic institutions in promoting peace.
We broke for lunch midday, but our audience quickly took their seats again for our special Palermo lunch session. This session was designed to review outcomes and comments on the Italian conference on Libya held the same day in Palermo, Italy. Several key representatives called in to share their thoughts on the Palermo parley with our audience. We heard reactions first hand from Stephanie Williams - UNSMIL Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Naji Moukhtar - First Deputy Chair of the State Council, Ali Alsaeedi - Chair of the Internal Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, and Lorenzo Kluzer - Libya Desk Officer for the European External Action Service. A panel of experts at the luncheon digested these remarks and gave their input on the Italians’ latest run at Libya peace talks.
Our final session was on the Libyan economy. An official from the World Bank opened the session and shared macroeconomic indicators on Libya’s development status today. We were also joined by experienced business and legal professionals who discussed the building financial and legal challenges facing Libya. The Guidry Group shined light on its port project in Sousah and the potential of public private partnerships in Libya. The reconstruction of Benghazi and Sirte was also addressed. The quality of discussion and expertise presented on all three panels made ‘Libya at the Crossroads’ a singular meeting of minds on the Libya question.
During our private dinner later that day at the Oval Room, we celebrated guests of the Council. The NCUSLR Board honored Michael Guidry, of the Guidry Group, with the National Council on US Libya Relations’ 2018 Leadership Award for his outstanding commitment to development in Libya. Different individuals had the opportunity to share their personal connections to Libya and how the Council’s work stands to benefit both the Libyan and American people.
We would like to personally thank everyone who participated in ‘Libya at the Crossroads.’ The Council plans to publish the conference presentation materials and follow-up interviews with the speakers on our website in the coming weeks.