NEW YORK — The role of civil society in promoting a just and lasting peace in the Middle East will be the subject of an international media seminar organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), in cooperation with the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China, on 16 and 17 June.
The two-day meeting will bring together present and former policy makers from Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, civil society representatives, senior United Nations officials, international experts and representatives of the world media.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will convey a message to the participants that will be delivered by Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, who will also moderate the seminar.
The keynote address will be given by Terje Roed-Larsen, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. Jin Yongjian, Chairman of the United Nations Association of China and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly Affairs, will also address the participants.
The International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, the twelfth in a series launched by DPI in 1991, will provide a forum for seminar participants to discuss ways and means of promoting a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the present situation of the “Road Map” and civil society initiatives to inject thoughts and ideas to find a way forward to peace in the Middle East. Media and civil society representatives will reflect on their role in shaping the peace process and in facilitating the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue.
The Seminar, which will be held in Beijing’s Asia Hotel, will be inaugurated by the Vice Foreign Minister of China, Zhang Yesui.
The international media seminar is taking place in response to General Assembly resolution 58/57 of 3 December 2003, which mandates the DPI to organize international, regional and national seminars or encounters for journalists, aiming in particular at sensitizing public opinion to the question of Palestine. In the past, such encounters have taken place in Helsinki (1991), Lisbon (1992), London (1993), Elsinore, Denmark (1994), Athens (1997), Prague and New Delhi (1998), Madrid (1999), Paris (2001), Copenhagen (2002) and Seville (2003).
High-level participants will include Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations; Yasser Abed Rabbo, former Minister of Information and Culture, Palestinian National Authority; Ophir Pines-Paz, Member of Knesset, Labour Party; Pierre Galand, Senator, Belgian Parliament; Ahmad Tibi, Knesset Member, Hadash-Ta’al Party; and Urs Ziswiler, Senior Diplomatic Advisor to the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland.
Among the international experts on the Middle East attending the seminar will be Ghassan Abdullah, Co-Director, Middle East Children’s Association, Jerusalem; Terry Greenblatt, Director, Bat Shalom, Israel; Tami Molad Hayo, The People’s Voice, Israel; Daniel Lubetsky, Found and President, OneVoice; Sari Nusseibeh, President, Al Quds University, Jerusalem; and Adina Shapiro, Co-Director, Middle East Children’s Association, Jerusalem.
Some 20 senior representatives of the media from the Middle East, Europe, Asia and other regions of the world will also participate. Among them will be Gideon Levy, Columnist, Ha’aretz; Walid Omary, Senior Correspondent based in Ramallah, Al Jazeera; Thomas Friedman, Foreign Affairs Columnist, The New York Times; David Rieff, Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine; Tony Walker, Australian Financial Review; and Amina Frense, News Producer, South African Broadcasting Corporation.