Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Taybeh, Palestine OktoberFest Oct 1-2

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Taybeh Oktoberfest Press Release, Taybeh Municipality, Taybeh-Ramallah, Palestine.
Coordinator:  Dr. Maria C. Khoury, Tel:  054 5 465 845 or 0599 318 347              Email: (Interviews Nadim Khoury / David Khoury
Tel :(972) 2 289 8868  Mobile  0599 371 105)                          September 24, 2011

Taybeh Municipality in conjunction with the Taybeh Brewing Company, Nadim  Khoury, master brewer and all local civic organizations will host the Taybeh  Oktoberfest, 7th annual village festival, Sat and Sun, Oct 1 and 2, 2011 in Taybeh,  Palestine, 11 am to 10 pm with the opening celebration on Sat, 11am at Taybeh Municipality under the patronage of Her Excellency Dr. Khouloud Daibes, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.  Promoting support for local products with cultural exchange and heritage, the festival will open with the Brazilian band, Rodrigo Lessa Trio;  Sri Lanka Dance and Taybeh Folklore Group .  The band traveling from Spain, Metal Cambra, will perform at 2:30pm. 

Taybeh Oktoberfest, reflecting democracy and  modernism  has become one of the most distinctive festivals inspiring international travel and is the cooperative work of the Taybeh Municipality and  its mayor  Mr. David Canaan Khoury with all local civic organizations (directions/schedule Celebrating  during this very historic time when Palestine  applied for 194 member state in the United Nations will hope to bring many from the diplomatic, international and local community to Taybeh for support and solidarity.

Entertainment will include an amazing diversity: CultureShoc, Palestine’s first Rock-Rap Band; DAM Palestinian Hip Hop; O-C Soldiers Hip Hop; Mina Band with Nazal Zanyed; West Bank Palestinian Hip-Hop /Adam DJ; Palestine Street; Toot Ard with Reggae from the Golan Heights;  Eurasica Band from Jerusalem; Egtyas7 Underground; Ramallah Band featuring Jack Tanous; Hajj MC; Amer Zahr Comedy ; The Palestinian Circus School; Palestinian National Theater;  Alrowwad Cultural & Theater ; Sanabel Theatre; Palestinian Circus School; World of Stories Geothe-Institut; Funonyat  Dance. The Karate Demonstration from Japan will complement the Taybeh Beer competition and street hockey games; Taybeh Walk organized by Walking Palestine. Aiman Salaymeh and Nadia Abu Ghattas will exhibit hand crafted jewelry along with other exhibitions by Holylanders. DJ Rateb will be in the Old City.   
Taybeh expresses appreciation to all sponsors:  Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities; Consulate General of Italy; United States of America Consulate General; Representative of Brazil; Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany; Konrad Adenauer Stiftung; Representative Office of Canada; Ambassador Hotel; Caritas; Spanish
Agency for International Cooperation & Development; Adv. Mazen Qupty 
The mayor states:  “The Taybeh
Community invites you to celebrate the seventh annual Oktoberfest during this very historic time where we keep our hope for independence and the two state solution.  Come see the alternative picture of Palestine by having fun and experiencing a truly memorable event. Taybeh Oktoberfest is absolutely the best and one of kind event in Palestine.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Al Mubadarah: Arab Empowerment Initiative introduces mentoring program for women in Palestine.

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Press Release

Date: September 25, 2011

Contact: Victor Shiblie

Al Mubadarah: Arab Empowerment Initiative introduces mentoring program for women in Palestine.

WASHINGTON DC— Social media uses are evolving beyond Facebook and Twitter, as human ingenuity continues to define this dynamic digital stage.

Al Mubadarah: Arab Empowerment Initiative, with partner organizations, is presenting one vision for social media’s next phase through connecting people and building more prosperous communities.

The organization is recruiting entrepreneurs with at least five years of business development experience for the Cherie Blair Foundation Mentoring Women in Business Program.  Participants will engage entirely through the Internet using Google technology tools that enable real time connection and collaboration.

By recruiting established successful business leaders worldwide, the mentoring program will support Al Mubadarah’s mission of developing stronger ties between the global Arab Diaspora and the Arab World.  Al Mubadarah develops its programing around the needs and aspirations articulated by Arabs in the Middle East and the Diaspora.

Entrepreneurs recruited by Al Mubadarah for the Cherie Blair Foundation Mentoring Women in Business Program will connect with entrepreneurial women in the West Bank who seek technical assistance and moral support for launching their business plans. Al Mubadarah will pair mentor and mentee with the hope and goal that a synergy will form between the two since they will meet online regularly, develop trust, network and discuss business concepts.

Candidates from diverse backgrounds with ethnic and cultural ties to the Middle East are especially encouraged to apply to serve as mentors for the Palestinian women. Exchanges between participants in such a program create the opportunity for Arabs to learn from, and about, one another while engaging though shared cultural references and traditions.

“The role of social media is hard to ignore, but it is the connections with people and the sharing of knowledge in a mutually beneficial way, that we’re promoting here,” said Al Mubadarah President and CEO, Hazami Barmada. 

As events in the Middle East have unfolded over this past year, Barmada says she has already observed that there is a strong interest among those from the Arab Diaspora who have wanted to give back to the region but were unsure where to start.

Palestine is in the minds and hearts of many Arab people. This is linking global Arab professionals back to the Arab world,” Barmada said. “This gives people a tangible way of helping Palestinian people: by participating in systematic community and professional development while being remote.”

As the program gains speed, Al Mubadarah will recruit Al Mubadarah Fellows for women mentees throughout the region. Mentors and mentees will connect using online forums and other communication modes, including email and chat. Mentors bring knowledge and expertise that could help women mentees better understand steps they can take to strengthen and improve their businesses. Mentors and mentees must agree to meet for at least one hour every two weeks over the course of 12 months. 

Al Mubadarah Advisory Board Member, Arab League Ambassador to the United States Dr. Hussein Hassouna, applauded the initiative for creating stronger linkages between Arabs worldwide and those in the Arab World.

“This is a great initiative that helps building bridges between people in the Arab World and Arabs abroad,” Hassouna said.  “It allows them to share their experiences, learn from each other and work together.”

As more Al-Mubadarah fellows join the team, Al Mubadarah intends to burnish its credentials as a global exchange platform for Arabs.  Using Internet technologies with information sharing capabilities, is just one way Hassouna said that Al Mubadarah will continue to take steps in examining, and addressing the loss of talent and expertise from the Middle East due to immigration. 

"I hope that in the days ahead, Al Mubadarah will continue enlarging its membership and gain support.  It is only through dedicated and collective efforts that this initiative can achieve valuable tangible results."

For more information visit  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

President Obama speech to the United Nations

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Office of the Press Secretary

September 21, 2011

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
Address to the United Nations General Assembly
New York City
September 21, 2011

As Prepared for Delivery –

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations – the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.

War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilization. But in the first part of the 20th century, the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war, but on averting others; a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict, while also addressing its causes. 
No American did more to pursue this objective than President Franklin Roosevelt. He knew that a victory in war was not enough. As he said at one of the very first meetings on the founding of the United Nations, “We have got to make, not merely a peace, but a peace that will last.”

The men and women who built this institution understood that peace is more than the absence of war. A lasting peace – for nations and individuals – depends upon a sense of justice and opportunity; of dignity and freedom. It depends upon struggle and sacrifice; on compromise, and a sense of common humanity.

One delegate to the San Francisco Conference that led to the creation of United Nations put it well – “Many people,” she said, “have talked as if all we had to do to get peace was…to say loudly and frequently that we loved peace and hated war. Now we have learned that no matter how much we love peace and hate war, we cannot avoid having war brought upon us if there are convulsions in other parts of the world.”  

The fact is, peace is hard, but our people demand it. Over nearly seven decades, even as the United Nations helped avert a third World War, we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and hatred of war, there are convulsions in our world that endanger us all.

I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place – Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization – remained at large. Today, we have set a new direction.

At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq – for its government and Security Forces; for its people and their aspirations. 

As we end the war in Iraq, the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. Between now and 2014, an increasingly capable Afghan government and Security Forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. As they do, we are drawing down our own forces, while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people.

So let there be no doubt: the tide of war is receding.  When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical to the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home.

Moreover, we are poised to end these wars from a position of strength. Ten years ago, there was an open wound of twisted steel and broken hearts in this city. Today, as a new tower rising at Ground Zero symbolizes New York’s renewal, al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.

Yes, this has been a difficult decade. But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The UN’s Founding Charter calls upon us, “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ Those bedrock beliefs – in the responsibility of states, and the rights of men and women – must be our guide.

In that effort, we have reason to hope. This year has been a time of transformation.  More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.

One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt. But the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination. And last summer, as a new flag went up in Juba, former soldiers laid down their arms; men and women wept with joy; and children finally knew the promise of looking to a future that they will shape.

One year ago, the people of Cote D’Ivoire approached a landmark election. And when the incumbent lost, and refused to respect the results, the world refused to look the other way. UN peacekeepers were harassed, but did not leave their posts. The Security Council, led by the United States, Nigeria, and France, came together to support the will of the people. And Cote D’Ivoire is now governed by the man who was elected to lead.

One year ago, the hopes of the people of Tunisia were suppressed. But they chose the dignity of peaceful protest over the rule of an iron fist. A vendor lit a spark that took his own life, but ignited a movement. In the face of a crackdown, students spelled out the word freedom. The balance of fear shifted from the ruler to those that he ruled. Now the people of Tunisia are preparing for elections that will move them one step closer to the democracy they deserve. 

One year ago, Egypt had known one President for nearly thirty years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were on Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life – men and women; young and old; Muslim and Christian – demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw; from Selma to South Africa – and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab World.

One year ago, the people of Libya were ruled by the world’s longest serving dictator. But faced with bullets and bombs and a dictator who threatened to hunt them down like rats, they showed relentless bravery. We will never forget the words of the Libyan who stood up in those early days of revolution and said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

Day after day, in the face of bullets and bombs, the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre.  The Arab League called for this effort, and Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qadhafi’s forces in their tracks.

In the months that followed, the will of the coalition proved unbreakable, and the will of the Libyan people could not be denied. Forty-two years of tyranny was ended in six months.  From Tripoli to Misratah to Benghazi – today, Libya is free.  Yesterday, the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us, and this week, the United States is reopening our Embassy in Tripoli. This is how the international community is supposed to work – nations standing together for the sake of peace and security; individuals claiming their rights. Now, all of us have a responsibility to support the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans.

So it has been a remarkable year. The Qadhafi regime is over. Gbagbo, Ben Ali, and Mubarak are no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him. Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Technology is putting power in the hands of the people. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and rejecting the lie that some races, religions and ethnicities do not desire democracy. The promise written down on paper – “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – is closer at hand.

But let us remember: peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart. The measure of  our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations.

In Iran, we have seen a government that refuses to recognize the rights of its own people. And as we meet here today, men, women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders. The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice – protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. The question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors?

Already, the United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. We have supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. Many of our allies have joined us in this effort. But for the sake of Syria – and the peace and security of the world – we must speak with one voice. There is no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.

Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change. In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports their aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability, but more are required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc – the Wifaq – to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. And we believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart.

Each nation must chart its own course to fulfill the aspirations of its people, and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Those rights depend upon elections that are free and fair; governance that is transparent and accountable; respect for the rights of women and minorities; and justice that is equal and fair. That is what our people deserve. Those are elements of a peace that lasts.  

Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy – with greater trade and investment, so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also civil society – students and entrepreneurs; political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from travelling to our country, and sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who have been silenced.

Now I know that for many in this hall, one issue stands as a test for these principles – and for American foreign policy: the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

One year ago, I stood at this podium and called for an independent Palestine. I believed then – and I believe now – that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May. That basis is clear, and well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.

I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. So am I. But the question isn’t the goal we seek – the question is how to reach it. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.

Peace depends upon compromise among peoples who must live together long after our speeches are over, and our votes have been counted. That is the lesson of Northern Ireland, where ancient antagonists bridged their differences. That is the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is the path to a Palestinian state. 

We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There is no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. And it is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can achieve one.

America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, persecution, and the fresh memory of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they were.

These facts cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

That truth – that each side has legitimate aspirations – is what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes. That’s what we should be encouraging. This body – founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide; dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every person – must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis.  The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live in peace and security, with dignity and opportunity. We will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down together, to listen to each other, and to understand each other’s hopes and fears. That is the project to which America is committed. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come.

Now, even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution, we must also recognize once more that peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends upon creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. And to do that, we must confront the common enemies of human beings: nuclear weapons and poverty; ignorance and disease. These forces corrode the possibility of lasting peace, and together we are called upon to confront them.

To lift the specter of mass destruction, we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last two years, we have begun to walk down that path. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers. Next March, a Summit in Seoul will advance our efforts to lock down all of them. The New START Treaty between the United States and Russia will cut our deployed arsenals to the lowest level in a half century, and our nations are pursuing talks on how to achieve deeper reductions. America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons, and the production of fissile material needed to make them.

As we meet our obligations, we have strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. To do so, we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them. The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful, has not met its obligations, and rejected offers that would provide it with peaceful nuclear power. North Korea has yet to take concrete steps toward abandoning its weapons, and continues belligerent actions against the South. There is a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their obligations. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. That is what our commitment to peace demands.

To bring prosperity to our people, we must promote the growth that creates opportunity. In this effort, let us not forget that we have made enormous progress over the last several decades. Closed societies gave way to open markets. Innovation and entrepreneurship has transformed the way we live and the things that we can do. Emerging economies from Asia to the Americas have lifted hundreds of millions from poverty. Yet three years ago, we confronted the worst financial crisis in eight decades.  That crisis proved a fact that has become clearer with each passing year – our fate is interconnected; in a global economy, nations will rise, or fall, together. 

Today, we confront the challenges that have followed that crisis. Recovery is fragile. Markets are volatile. Too many people are out of work. Too many others are struggling to get by. We acted together to avert a Depression in 2009. We must take urgent and coordinated action once more. Here in the United States, I have announced a plan to put Americans back to work and jumpstart our economy, and committed to substantially reduce our deficit over time. We stand with our European allies as they reshape their institutions and address their own fiscal challenge. For other countries, leaders face a different challenge as they shift their economies towards more self-reliance, boosting domestic demand while slowing inflation.  So we will work with emerging economies that have rebounded strongly, so that rising standards of living create new markets that promote global growth. That is what our commitment to prosperity demands.

To combat the poverty that punishes our children, we must act on the belief that freedom from want is a basic human right. The United States has made it a focus of our engagement abroad to help people to feed themselves. And today, as drought and conflict have brought famine to the Horn of Africa, our conscience calls on us to act. Together, we must continue to provide assistance, and support organizations that can reach those in need. And together, we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access so that we can save the lives of thousands of men, women and children. Our common humanity is at stake. Let us show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other. That is what our commitment to our fellow human beings demands. 

To stop disease that spreads across borders, we must strengthen our systems of public health. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We will focus on the health of mothers and children. And we must come together to prevent, detect, and fight every kind of biological danger – whether it is a pandemic like H1N1, a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease.  This week, America signed an agreement with the World Health Organization to affirm our commitment to meet this challenge. Today, I urge all nations to join us in meeting the WHO’s goal of making sure all nations have core capacities to address public health emergencies in place by 2012. That is what our commitment to the health of our people demands.

To preserve our planet, we must not put off the action that a changing climate demands. We must tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce. Together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun, so that all of the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Together, we must work to transform the energy that powers are economies, and support others as they move down that path. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands.

And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs. No country can afford the cancer of corruption. Together, we must harness the power of open societies and open economies. That is why we have partnered with countries from across the globe to launch a new partnership on Open Government that helps ensure accountability and empower their citizens. No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere. And no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs. This week, the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. That is what our commitment to human progress demands.

I know that there is no straight line to progress, no single path to success. We come from different cultures, and carry with us different histories. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments, we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations – to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families and our God. To live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living.

It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn this lesson over and over again. Conflict and repression will endure so long as some people refuse to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Yet that is precisely why we have built institutions like this that bind our fates together – because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war; freedom is preferable to suppression; and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That is the message that comes not from capitals, but from citizens.

When the corner-stone of this very building was put in place, President Truman came here to New York and said, “The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations.” As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace, that is a lesson that we must never forget.

Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. Together, let us resolve to see that it is defined by our hopes and not our fears. Together, let us work to make, not merely a peace, but a peace that will last. Thank you.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Al-Jazeera replaces Director General in major shakeup: Shaikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani succeeds Wadah Khanfar

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Al Jazeera leadership transition outlined

Doha, Qatar, 20 September, 2011 - Al Jazeera has announced the departure of its Director General of eight years, Wadah Khanfar.

Speaking to staff today, he said that he had served for a substantial period of time, and the Network’s current success offered him the opportunity to leave having accomplished the vision he had set for Al Jazeera to be a globally recognized media institution.

Khanfar had approached Al Jazeera’s chairman with his intentions in July. His replacement, Shaikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani was identified one month ago, ensuring a smooth transition. The new Director General will take over responsibilities from tomorrow.

Since Khanfar took over the reins at Al Jazeera in 2003, Al Jazeera became a media network from being a solitary Arabic news channel. It now includes Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera Mubasher and Al Jazeera Documentary. The Arabic and English news channels have been widely acclaimed for their coverage of the Arab awakening.

Khanfar said:

“Upon my appointment I set a goal to establish Al Jazeera as global media leader. This target has been met and the organization is in a healthy position.

“This Network is great not because of me or any other individual, it is great because of its mission which carries on with all of its outstanding staff.

“My successor has the skills and attributes to maintain and build upon the quality journalism that Al Jazeera has become renowned for.”


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Friday, September 09, 2011

ALO Foundation Roundtable: Oct. 11, Monterey Park, CA

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ALO Cultural Foundation presents
Cultural Diplomacy
Unraveling the publicity machine to understand the identity and integration
of Middle Eastern-Americans

Co-hosted by
Hon. LeRoy D. Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff
ALO Magazine, America’s Top Middle Eastern Lifestyle Magazine

LeRoy D. Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff
Wafa Kanan, Publisher of ALO Magazine and Founder, ALO Cultural Foundation
Moderated by Bill Overton, media consultant for WAO Communications, Inc.

Invited Panelists include:
1.     Senator Diana Feinstein, Suheil Bushrui, Professor at the University of Michigan; Mehdi Noorbaksh, Associate Professor of International Affairs at Harrisburg University; Octavia Nasr, CNN's Chief Middle East correspondent for 20 years; Farouk El-Baz, NASA Scientist and Professor at Boston University; Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010; Joseph Haiek, Publisher of the Arab-American Almanac; Monte E. Perez, Ph.D., President of Los Angeles Mission College; Sameh Alfonse, The League Arab States; Elizabeth A. Say, Professor at CSUN; and Anthony Alan Botto, US Department of State.

CULTURAL DIPLOMACY brings together corporations, media, government agencies, educational institutions, community leaders and social agencies to discuss the diversity of the Middle Eastern Culture, the mystery that wraps around it, the misconceptions, perspectives and perception of the heritage in the mainstream. At the conclusion, the framework will be established to map a social plan for tolerance.

Where and When:
Sheriff's Department Headquarters, Media Conference Room
4700 West Ramona Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 1:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Why: The unique roundtable will bring to light the positive economical and cultural impact the Middle Eastern community has delivered to the U.S. It seeks to illustrate our similarities and distinctions, facilitate diversity issues through healthy and cross cultural relationships and expand the perspectives of an emerging community.

How:  A panel of experts from the diverse landscape of the United States will be assembled for policy-shaping collaboration. Along with Sheriff Baca, Kanan—one of the foremost experts in cross-cultural tolerance and education—opens a frank and diverse discussion between an intimate gathering of cultural, media, business leaders, and educators that will ultimately lead to a greater understanding of Middle Easterners in America.

For Further Information: ALO Cultural Foundation 818/727-7785

About the ALO Cultural Foundation: The Foundation is a 501(c)(3), nonpolitical, nonpartisan, non-profit corporation. Its mission of building stronger, healthier communities through social investment focused on cultural exchange programs, women empowerment, voluntourism, philanthropy, and diversity through the power of community outreach will foster friendship, knowledge, and understanding between these diverse people throughout the United States.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

When will Israel protect the Christians?

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6 September 2011
Bethlehem, Palestine

Dear Alumni and Friends of Bethlehem University,

Generally, I am delighted to write to you with some encouraging news about happenings at Bethlehem University. Today, however, I have some disturbing and unfortunate news to share with you.

A Bethlehem University Professor and Student Survive Two Separate Attacks by Israeli Settlers 

In the early morning hours of Monday, 5 September 2011, while travelling in the West Bank between the Palestinian villages of Al-Lubban and Turmos Aya and near the Israeli settlements of Ofarim and Bet Ariye along the Nablus-Ramallah, Dr. Adwan Adwan, a faculty member in the Arabic Department at Bethlehem University, was the victim of a violent attack by some 20 Israeli settlers who threw rocks in his face, injuring his head, shoulder, and stomach. His car was blocked by a pile of burning tires when he quickly came under what he said felt like a well-orchestrated ambush. Dr. Adwan eventually was able to speed away from the scene and get himself to a hospital for treatment. "I felt lucky to escape with my life," he says.

On the same day and further along the same road, near the settlement of Shiloh in the Palestinian Territories, Miss Yara Odeh, a Bethlehem University masters degree student, was the victim of a violent attack by some Israeli settlers. Yara found herself stuck in what appeared to be a traffic jam caused by Israeli settlers pelting cars with rocks. With the road blocked, she escaped from her car through the passenger door and ran toward nearby Israeli soldiers, calling for help. She reports being refused help and being told to return to her car. "The settlers seemed not so much interested in damaging the car as they were in harming me," she says of the incident.

The Bethlehem University administration is extremely disturbed by these attacks on members of the academic community. "We value the lives of our faculty and students," says Dr. Michael Sansur, Executive Vice President at Bethlehem University. "Each and every day our faculty engage our students in promoting democracy, peace, and justice. We are fortunate to have a campus atmosphere that is known to be an oasis of peace. These violent and aggressive attacks on our students and faculty from Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories are horrifying and unjust. We are grateful for the well-being of Dr. Adwan and Yara in surviving these traumatic events and pledge to continue in our efforts to prepare our graduates to take their place as ethical leaders in fostering shared values, moral principles and dedication to serving the common good."

As reported in the media and by the United Nations, there appears to be an increase in the number of Palestinians who are being attacked by groups of Israeli settlers. The United Nations and other international human rights and aid organizations report that more than 500,000 Israeli settlers, many of whom are armed, occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Blessings to you,

Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD
Vice President for Development

Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Rue des Freres
Bethlehem - Palestine
Tel: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440

Israelis discriminate against non-Jews at Washington DC hotel

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CAIR: Muslim Sues D.C. Hotel Over Bias During Israeli Delegation’s Stay
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/29/11) –- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today filed a lawsuit against a Washington, D.C., hotel on behalf of a Muslim employee who says he faced discrimination after he was barred from carrying out his duties on floors occupied last year by a visiting Israeli delegation.
To read the entire lawsuit, click here.
SEE ALSOMuslims Criticize Handling of Israelis' Stay at D.C. Hotel (Wash. Post)
In its suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District Of Columbia against the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) alleges that in December of 2010, the American citizen of Moroccan heritage was forbidden to go to the 8th or 9th floors of the hotel because an Israeli delegation was staying there.
He was reportedly barred from those floors despite the fact that he had previously undergone an FBI background check and had carried out his duties for other foreign delegations and dignitaries, including former American presidents.
“No American should be treated differently or face discrimination by an employer because of his or her race, religion or national origin,” said CAIR Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili.
According to the suit, when the Muslim employee asked why he was barred from those floors, he was told by a supervisor, “You know how the Israelis are with Arabs and Muslims.” Another hotel supervisor allegedly stated that “the Israeli delegation does not want to be served by Defendant’s Muslim employees and that Defendant accommodates this preference because it does not want to lose the Israeli delegation as clients.”
The suit also alleges that hotel supervisors believed the Muslim employee “would particularly pose a problem for the Israeli delegation, because if they encountered him, members of the delegation would easily be able to see his name -- Mohamed -- written on his employee nametag.”
After the Muslim worker’s colleagues learned of the restrictions the hotel had placed on his duties, several of them ridiculed him as a potential terrorist, “poking him in the stomach to feign checking his body for explosives.”
CAIR’s suit also alleges that the hotel retaliated against the employee for complaining about the discriminatory treatment.
The lawsuit seeks diversity training for hotel employees, back pay for the Muslim worker, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and an order requiring the hotel to adopt a non-discrimination and retaliation policy and to establish an effective mechanism for receiving and responding to complaints of discrimination and retaliation.
CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.
SEE: An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Become a Fan of CAIR on Facebook
Subscribe to CAIR's E-Mail List
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CONTACT: CAIR Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili, 540-514-2093,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: