Seminar programme | Participants biographies


Media advisory


Press release - First day


Press release - Second day

Second day: 16:15 | Concluding Session

Closing statements: 

Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal

Mr. Levent Gümrükçü, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

Second day: 10:45 - 12:45 | Panel 4: The role and impact of film/visual media on coverage of the question of Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

This session will explore the role and impact of visual media – including film, video and photography – in shaping perceptions about the question of Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From the award winning documentary ‘5 Broken Cameras’, to B’Tselem’s video camera distribution project, to the work of the ActiveStills collective, panellists will discuss visual media and the extent to which it has shed light on the situation in the Middle East and changed attitudes about it.   

Moderator: Ms. Deborah Seward, Director, Strategic Communications Division, United Nations Department of Public Information

Mr. Coşkun Aral, War correspondent and photojournalist - @Coskun_Aral

Ms. Shiraz Grinbaum, ActiveStills.org - @activestills

Ms. Nour Odeh, Media professional and communications consultant - @nour_odeh

Ms. Helen Yanovski, B’Tselem’s video camera distribution project

Second day: 9:00 - 10:30 | Panel 3: Youth activism, digital journalism and social media in the Middle East

Youth activism continues to be a driving force behind movements for peace, justice and democracy in Israel and Palestine, and across the Middle East. This panel will discuss how the acceleration in digital technologies and social media is affecting youth activism, and how the use of social media by youth activists has helped and/or hindered their causes.

Moderator: Mr. Ahmed Shihab Eldin, Producer and host, Huffington Post Live - @ASE

Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth - @ahmadalhendawi

Ms. Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, Youth activist, Palestine - @Zaytouni_Rana

Ms. Sahar Vardi, Peace activist, Israel - @SaharMvardi

Mr. Gökhan Yücel, Digital diplomacy expert and Lecturer at the Leadership, Politics and Diplomacy School of Bahçeşehir University - @goyucel

First day: 16:00 - 17:30 | Panel 2: Forgotten narratives: Palestinian refugees and the contemporary news agenda

With an uncertain peace process and military confrontations continuing to flare with regularity, the ‘battle of the narratives’ is raging as never before. This session will discuss important but too-often unreported aspects of the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the challenges faced by Palestinian refugees and internally-displaced persons, as well as how the portrayal of ‘the other’ in media and society can be a major barrier to peace efforts.

Moderator: Mr. Ufuk Ulutaş, Director, Foreign Policy Research, SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research - @ufukulutas

Mr. Joseph Dana, Correspondent, Monocle Magazine - @ibnezra

Ms. Nour Odeh, Media professional and communications consultant @nour_odeh

Mr. Ahmed Shihab Eldin, Producer and host, Huffington Post Live - @ASE​

First day: 14:15 - 15:45 | Panel 1: Shifting media coverage of the Middle East peace efforts and the question of Palestine

This session will discuss how narratives in media coverage might have shifted, especially in light of the major developments of the past 12 months. The issue will be tackled by experts representing different perspectives, and explore to what extent the changes might have an effect on the prospects for peace.

Moderator: Ambassador Lyutha Al-Mughairy, Chairperson of the Committee on Information and Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations

Dr. Ghassan Khatib, Vice President for Advancement and Professor, Birzeit University - @Ghassankhatib

Mr. Ufuk Ulutaş, Director, Foreign Policy Research, SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research - @ufukulutas

Ms. Mairav Zonzein, Editor and writer +972; digital editor at Haaretz.com - @MairavZ

First day: 11:15 - 12:15 | Dialogue: A historic 12 months for Palestine at the United Nations

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations - @Palestine_UN

Moderator: Mr. Ahmed Shihab Eldin, Producer and host, Huffington Post Live - @ASE

First day: 10:00 - 11:00 | Keynote address and Q&A: The status of international peace efforts

Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority

ModeratorMr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal

Remarks by Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information

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International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East

United Nations Department of Public Information

In cooperation with

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey

8-9 October 2013  

Istanbul

Day One, 8 October 2013

OPENING SESSION

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Remarks by Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal

Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information

Seated at the podium with Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthalwill be:

▪           Ambassador Ümit Yalçin, Director-General for Bilateral Political Affairs

WELCOMING STATEMENTS

Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information:

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

My name is Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal. I am the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information based in New York.

And on behalf of the United Nations, I am delighted to welcome all of you on the occasion of the 20th International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East. 

It is wonderful to gather here in Istanbul, a city that for centuries has served as an international crossroads, and as a place where east meets west.

I would also like to extend a very special welcome to our panellists and participants who have travelled from near and far to be with us here today.

This seminar is organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. 

We are very grateful to the Government of Turkey for its warm welcome here and for its generous support at this important juncture in the search for peace in the Middle East.

That generosity and that support is not confined to this Middle East seminar. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria have sought shelter in this country over the past two and a half years, and the Turkish people and their Government deserve enormous credit and recognition for the hospitality they have shown.

We are honoured to have with us this morning His Excellency, Ambassador Ümit Yalçin, the Director-General of Bilateral Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara.

Ambassador Yalçinwill make an opening statement on behalf of our hosts.

And may I request you, Ambassador, to take the floor.

(Ambassador Yalçin makes opening remarks)

Thank you, Ambassador Yalçin, for your kind words of welcome.

I am now honoured to be able to share with you a statement from the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

“I am pleased to send greetings to all the participants of this international media seminar on peace in the Middle East.  I thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey for hosting this event.

This meeting comes at a time of renewed hope for the Middle East Peace Process. While many challenges remain, the resumption of direct talks is a welcome step towards reaching an agreement on an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace with a secure Israel.

For this new effort to succeed, Israelis and Palestinians must quickly see visible peace dividends. The status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory is not sustainable, and in the long run, the occupation is deeply damaging to Israelis and Palestinians alike. An enabling environment for economic progress is more urgent than ever. 

The Israeli and Palestinian leadership and people face hard choices but also tremendous opportunity. Absent real political progress, there could be dire consequences. Both should act responsibly and with restraint, and refrain from incitement and other actions that risk undermining the negotiations or prejudging final status issues.  Stability is critical, and maximum efforts should be made to avoid violence and reverse negative trends.

On the margins of the General Debate this year, the Middle East Quartet met for the first time in more than a year to support the rejuvenated peace process.  The Quartet received a joint briefing by the Israeli and Palestinian chief negotiators, and I was heartened by their commitment to reach a comprehensive agreement on all the core issues.

The international community must work in concert, including through the Quartet, to assist them in forging a way forward for future generations.

Many of you, as journalists, activists, policy-makers and representatives of civil society, have played a vital role in promoting transparency, accountability and democracy. I urge you to continue to advance peace and increase mutual understanding between communities, especially Palestinians and Israelis.

Please accept my best wishes for a successful gathering.”

 

I am also pleased to let you know that copies of the message to the seminar from H.E. Mr. Abdou Salam Diallo, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations, are available for you at the back of the room.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our objective in organizing this seminar is two-fold: one, to raise public awareness about the question of Palestine and the search for peace in the Middle East; and, second, to examine the evolving media-related dynamics in the region, while exploring how they relate to the Israel/Palestine situation.

I would like to emphasize that this seminar is focused on the media and its role in the search for Middle East peace and the question of Palestine. Our panel discussions are an opportunity for representatives of the media and of civil society from the region and beyond to come together to share their experiences and exchange their views.

This seminar is taking place at a critical moment, as was mentioned earlier, in the search for Middle East peace, as the direct peace negotiations that have resumed in July.

As the Secretary-General has noted, we are approaching a critical moment in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No one’s interests are truly served by maintaining the status quo.

Palestinians have the right to live in an independent and viable State, side by side with Israel. Israelis also have the right to live in peace and security. The occupation must end and settlement activities must stop.

The international community has a key role to play. And Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underlined that the United Nations will do all it can to help the resumed peace process.

Just last month the Quartet, of which the UN is a member, met for the first time in more than a year, and Quartet members have renewed their commitment to reach a comprehensive agreement.

The United Nations is working in many ways to help the people in the region, including through the support provided by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

On the ground, Mr. Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, is leading the efforts towards a resolution.

We are honoured to have Mr. Serry with us today. He will shortly give you his assessment of the situation in his keynote address.

We have also several important developments in Israel and Palestine over the past year that I am sure we will explore in greater depth over the next two days, such as the fighting in and around the Gaza Strip in November last year; the evolving relations between Turkey and the parties to the peace process; and the General Assembly’s decision to grant Palestine the status of a non-member observer State.

As the Secretary-General said in his recent remarks to the 68th General Assembly, “Syria is without doubt the biggest crisis facing the international community.”

In excess of 100,000 people have been killed. Around seven million more are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Many Palestinians who sought refuge in Syria after being displaced in 1948 and 1967 have found themselves and their families uprooted once more.

The UN is working on multiple fronts, often under extraordinarily difficult conditions, in an effort to resolve the crisis in Syria and to help its people.

Our aid workers are providing round-the-clock humanitarian support. Our independent chemical weapons inspectors are inspecting key sites and moving to dismantle stockpiles. And, led by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, our political staff are working with the parties to try to achieve a lasting settlement. And our legal and human rights colleagues are striving to end impunity for those who have committed grave crimes during the conflict.

Before we begin I would like to give you a brief overview of the next two days. After Mr. Serry delivers his address and takes questions, we will take a short break.

Then we will have the chance to hear from Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, on his perspective. Ambassador Mansour will share his observations from his unique standpoint as Palestine’s top representative to the world body at its Headquarters in New York, and also share his thoughts on what lays ahead.

Following that, we will begin the panel phase of the seminar. So, as you will have seen from the programme, we will discuss the shifting media coverage of Middle East peace efforts and the question of Palestine; forgotten narratives – Palestinian refugees and the contemporary news agenda; youth activism, digital journalism and social media in the Middle East; and, the role and impact of visual media on coverage of the question of Palestine.

Thanks to your attendance, we were able to assemble a truly impressive list of speakers and participants. We look forward to hearing the many different perspectives and experiences they represent.

We are delighted to be able to welcome Ambassador Lyutha al-Mughairy, Chair of the Committee on Information and the Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations in New York.

We are also thrilled to be able to show the award-winning film 5 Broken Cameras.

So, without any further ado, I would now like to hand over to Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, for his keynote address on the status of international peace efforts.

Mr. Serry, please…

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