International Leadership Conference - Peace and Migration: Cross-Regional Perspectives
While Middle Eastern countries struggle under the weight of millions of refugees fleeing conflicts, European nations, experiencing a historic period of peace, have offered both open doors and high fences. Today's crises raise questions of economic survival and cultural identity. Is migration a right? Is hospitality an obligation? How to balance the needs for integration, ageing populations and the preservation of one's native culture? Panellists were looking for principles, policies and action steps that can lead to sustainable models for peaceful coexistence between the three regions.
Moderator: Mr. David Fraser -Harris, Secretary General, UPF Middle East and North Africa
From 1990 to 1997, Mr. Fraser Harris served the International Religious Foundation (IRF) as the director of its European office in Rome. In this capacity he was responsible for the promotion of IRF’s interfaith programs in Europe, which included both conferences and the international projects of the Religious Youth Service, many of which were held in Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1997 to 2012 he and his family lived in Damascus (Syria), where he taught English and travelled frequently to support UPF programs in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other parts of the region. He continues to support such programs from his home near Edinburgh.
Dr. Werner Fasslabend, Minister of Defence (1999-2000), Austria
Dr. Fasslabend is the President of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) and the Honorary President of the Political Academy of the Austrian People’s Party. He earned his Doctor’s degree of law at the University of Vienna. He served as a Member of the Austrian Parliament (1987-2007), Federal Minister of Defence (1990-2000) and Speaker of the Austrian Parliament (2000-2002). From 1997 to 2003 he served as Chair of the Austrian Workers’ and Employees’ Association.
Hon. Ulla Sandbaek, Member of Parliament, Denmark
Mrs.Sandbæk is a member of the Danish Parliament for the Alternative and a spokesperson on development cooperation and ecclesiastical affairs. She is a former member of the European Parliament (1989-2004), where she worked for women’s reproductive rights among other things. She also has been socially engaged in the Palestinian territories, where she has held courses in yoga and meditation for former politically imprisoned women. She holds an MA in theology from Copenhagen University and practiced as a vicar from 1971 to 2004. She is also a teacher in the art of living.
Hon. Ulla Sandbaek gave an overview of her speech: 'Migration is a right but an even bigger right is not to have to migrate. And yes hospitality is an obligation in as much as we in the rich world are to a big degree responsible for the situation which is creating the refugee crisis and we have committed ourselves to receive the refugess in the UN declarations we have signed. And about the importance that we do not abandon those human rights now that they are the most needed. Now is the time where the EU should prove that it was created to maintain peace and have a common refugee policy. I will talk about Sdg 10 and the importance of world equality but at the same time the importance of cultural diversity. Both make strong societies. In the end I will make 3 recommendations.'
Dr. Mohammad Al Antaki, Secretary General, Integrated Community Based Initiative, Jordan
Dr. Al Antaki is a Jordanian citizen. A graduate in medicine from Milan, Italy, he is a member of the Jordanian-Italian Medical Association Executive Committee. He chairs the Health Committee and is the Vice President of the Jordanian Red Crescent of Rusaifa municipality. An elected member of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Services Council, he heads theAdvisory Committee Integrated Community Based Initiatives at the Suf Camp for Palestine Refugees. He chairs the Higher Coordination Committee supervising 10 community-based rehabilitation centres and 14 women’s programme centres under the umbrella of UNRWA. He is the Chair of the UNRWA Physicians Social Committee.
Dr. Antonio Stango, Secretary General, Italian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
Dr. Stango is an Italian political scientist and lecturer in International Law and Human Rights. He is the secretary general of the Italian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, and a member of the Global Peace Council of the Italian League of Human Rights and of several other NGOs. He regularly attends the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. From 2003 to 2006, he was the Project Director of Freedom House Kazakhstan Human Rights Training and Support Program. He is the author of numerous publications.
Hon. Paulo Pisco, Member of Parliament, Portugal
Mr. Pisco belongs to the Socialist Group at the Portuguese Parliament. After working as a journalist from 1988 to 1995, he became an advisor to the Socialist Parliamentary Group in the European Parliament between 1995 and 1999. He became a Member of the Portuguese Parliament in 2009 and has served three terms. He belongs to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities, the National Defence Commission and the Commission for Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports. Between 2004 and 2008, he was a professor of European Studies at the National Institute of Administration. He received the award of Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
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