I am pleased to announce a Middle East Forum trip to Central Europe: Warsaw, Budapest, and Vienna. It will take place on May 21-28, 2019. To register for the trip click here.
This is the sixth Forum trip (prior ones have been to the UAE, Israel, Cyprus, and Western Europe). As is our custom, we shall do some conventional sightseeing but what makes the trip unique is the engagement with a local factor to learn about current circumstances.
In these three countries, the Islamist threat has been widely recognized; in response, the body politic and the leadership are taking steps to deal with it. Indeed, the governments of these three countries stand in stark contrast to their bigger, richer, and better-known counterparts in Western Europe, notably the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, where Islamism largely remains a taboo topic. In addition to this central theme, we shall raise such Middle Eastern issues as Israel and Iran.
- Poland is going through a major battle between Left and Right, with Jewish issues always in the background. Is it condemned to carry this baggage or can it focus on the new threat?
- Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán aspires to push Angela Merkel aside and become the new leader of Europe. Is this crazy or does he have a chance?
- Austria is the first European country outside the Soviet bloc to have a government coalition of a legacy conservative party and what the media calls a far-right party. Is this a model or an exception?
As in prior Forum trips, we will go places as well as have meetings in the hotel; and we will meet with a range of compelling individuals engaged in a broad swathe of activities with contrasting opinions. The goal is to give you, in very brief compass, a clear notion of the thinking and feelings in these three countries.
Another important factor: Travelers on prior trips have remarked on the excellent company of their fellow travelers. In addition to sharing interests, they also – as the only publicity is on my website and MEF's – are generally like-minded on key issues. To quote a participant who has joined all the trips, "This is the best group of people I've been with in decades!"
The program starts on the evening of Tuesday, May 21, when we will meet in Warsaw. We then fly from Warsaw to Budapest on Friday, May 24, and travel by bus to Vienna on Sunday, May 26. The trip ends on Tuesday afternoon, May 28.
For those of you in North America: The Middle East Forum's 25th anniversary gala (to be announced shortly) will take place in New York City on Sunday, May 19; we have timed these events so it will be convenient for you to leave May 20 on a direct flight to Warsaw. (There are two non-stop flights from New York City to Warsaw on May 20, at 7:25pm and 10pm, both 8:30 hours long.)
The trip costs US$5,000 per person, with a $1,065 supplement for single occupancy. Of this, about $1,800 is tax deductible as a donation to the Middle East Forum (we will know the exact figure once the trip is over). The price includes:
- Stays in international-class hotels (specifics will be provided to those traveling).
- Breakfast every day; one lunch and one dinner in each city.
- All travel: modern air-conditioned buses on land and airfare from Warsaw to Budapest.
- A tour escort/manager and local guides.
- Entrance fees, tips, misc. fees.
I hope you will join me on May 21-28. Please click here for more details.