As a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi criticized the militant strain of Islamic extremism and advocated democratic reforms as the most effective way to tackle terror, stop bloodshed and political violence in Arab countries. His advocacy and ideas drew the ire of the powers that be. In November 2016, the Saudi government banned Khashoggi from writing in newspapers, appearing on TV and attending conferences.    

Rather than remain silent, Khashoggi made the difficult decision to leave his country, moving to the United States in June 2017.  As an exile, Khashoggi grew bolder in his criticism of the autocratic policies of the Saudi government and Crown Prince MBS.  He also continued to champion democratic reforms for his country and for the entire Arab world. 

In June 2018, just months before his murder, Khashoggi and a group of like-minded friends founded Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN. Khashoggi’s mission and DAWN’s mission were one and the same — to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the Arab world.  

Khashoggi had ambitious plans for the group. Khashoggi and the other founders developed a statement of principles committing DAWN to researching and exposing human rights abuses, advocating for democratic reforms and mobilizing Arab exiles by providing them a platform to debate democratic solutions to the region’s problems.  In the process, Khashoggi intended DAWN to become a leader in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom in the Middle East and North Africa.

Khashoggi was murdered before he could make DAWN into an effective voice for change in the Arab world.  In his absence, we have taken up the mantle.  DAWN is built on Jamal Khashoggi’s vision of change. We honor his legacy by continuing his work, nurturing his vision of democracy and human rights for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Stabilizing democracy and driving people to believe in it is the only way forward for peace."

Jamal Khashoggi, Al-Arabiy, June 12, 2016