Tugrul Keskin, a Ph.D candidate in sociology at Virginia Tech, was selected to participate in "9-11 Plus 5," a summit that brings together U.S. and Muslim leaders with young global leaders to develop a comprehensive strategy for long-term engagement between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

The summit, which took place over the weekend at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, examined the lessons and changes over the five years since the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as looked forward to how U.S.-Islamic world relations can be improved in the five years to come. 9-11 Plus 5 was comprised of on-the record, public plenary sessions and working group discussions, exploring the vital issues of concern.

Keskin applied for the summit “to analyze and observe the relationship between US and Islamic intellectuals.” Keskin writes, “I strongly believe that the relationship between US and Muslims has changed negatively in the last 17 years…. I would like to find out how we can change this negative impression for both sides’ interests.”

John Ryan, chair of the sociology department, says that Keskin was an excellent choice to represent Virginia Tech at the conference. “Tugrul has the knowledge and presentation skills to make a strong impact on the conference. In addition to his doctoral work here he holds a masters degree in sociology of economics from the University of Istanbul in Turkey and worked for several years as a journalist for the Aydinlik newspaper and Ulusal TV. We are excited that Virginia Tech had such an outstanding student to represent us,” said Ryan.

Among the many speakers that Keskin heard were Seth Green, president, Americans for Informed Democracy; Mary Fetchet, founding director, Voices of September 11; Chris Kojm, former president of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project and former deputy director of the 9/11 Commission; Karl Inderfurth, George Washington University professor and former assistant secretary of state for South Asian Affairs; and Slade Gorton, former U.S. senator and 9-11 commission member.