The Arab Thought Forum (ATF), also recognized under the Arabic name Al Multaqa, was established in Jerusalem in 1977 as an independent Palestinian institution. It is a democratic, open forum for Palestinian decision makers, public opinion leaders and citizens at large, and has no affiliation to any government, political party or organization. The strength of the Arab Thought Forum lies in its political independence, which allows it to freely engage in a broad range of subjects related to the Palestinian cause.
As one of the leading Palestinian organizations specializing in socio-economic development, ATF has served for two decades as an important platform for the presentation of development strategies of Palestinian nation building. Initially focused on scientific studies and research, ATF has expanded to actively identify critical issues for analysis, and public debate, and has selectively initiated important pilot and long term projects in order to influence and contribute to the development of the Palestinian people.
Under its founding mandate, the ATF has succeeded to play a major role in influencing and shaping the thinking of policy makers. The ATF has opened and maintained strong lines of communication with the Palestinian National Authority and Palestinian intellectuals, as well as citizens in all geographical locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Through these relationships, the ATF has been able to contribute to debates on the new Palestinian Authority Constitution and draft laws, and has demonstrated the capability to quickly respond to the challenges of critical issues requiring public discussion, assessment and well-considered policy recommendations.
Following the signing of the Oslo agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Israeli Government in 1993, the Palestinians were placed at the threshold of realizing their struggle for freedom, independence and prosperity. Recognizing the importance of sound economic and democratic formation and development, the ATF began in 1994 to work on redefining its strategies and philosophy to correspond with these changes in Palestinian society.
ATF‘s focus of work since 1994 may be summarized; as The Future of Jerusalem, Democratic Process and Nation Building, Promoting Development Awareness, The Peace Process. The ATF is committed to the goal of establishing an independent democratic state for the Palestinian people.