Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco will be the only countries besides the world’s eight most powerful nations invited to the G8 Summit in Sea Island, June 8-10.

The three Middle East countries’ delegations will participate in talks about the Bush administration’s Greater Middle East Democracy Initiative aimed at increasing freedom in the region, according to John Kirton, director of the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Kirton instructs an online course focused on the annual meeting of the leaders of the European Union, as well as Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. The course materials can be viewed at

In past G8 Summits, delegations from other countries were invited to attend the talks as observers. Those invited have typically been countries that have stakes in the specific issues discussed during each summit.

“Jordan, Bahrain and Morocco are invited this year only because the G8 wants a genuine dialogue with emergent democracies in the Middle East, and these three countries have expressed willingness to become partners in this effort,” Dr. Kirton told GlobalAtlanta during a telephone interview.

“The Bush administration has a strong aversion to outsiders being included in the Summit because the idea is to have a small, intimate business meeting with the eight leading countries,” he said.

The 2004 Summit’s main topics are freedom, prosperity and security. The Middle East countries will be the focus of the freedom talks. Trade liberalization and the outsourcing of American jobs will be main items for the prosperity discussion and terrorism and weapons of mass destruction will be the security issues, Dr. Kirton said.

Additional countries were first included in the Summit in 2001 in Genova, Italy, with African countries invited to participate in talks to create a global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The 2002 summit in Kananaskis, Canada, included delegations from four African countries to contribute to talks about the G8 African Action Plan for development assistance on the continent. The 2003 summit in Evian, France, involved several major emerging economies to discuss regional issues and weapons of mass destruction.

G8 Online 2004 is a university level, English- and French-language online program that consists of 26 lectures with supporting materials, tutorials and interactive features. The website will show a videoconference on June 3-4 of the G8 Research Group’s pre-Summit conference. The conference, entitled “Securing Prosperity: Why America Needs the G8,” will explore issues including finance, foreign direct investment and corporate governance, the Global Partnership on Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, macroeconomic policy coordination, trade and sustainable development and transport security.Contact John Kirton at or (416) 946-8953 for more information.