Seminar programme | Participants biographies


Media advisory


Press release - First day


Press release - Second day


Photos by UNIC Tokyo | Photos by Sophia University

Second day: 12: 45 | Concluding Session

Closing Statements:

Ambassador Yutaka Iimura, Special Representative of the Government of Japan for the Middle East and Europe

Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Coordinator for Multilingualism

Second day: 11:15 - 12:45 | Panel 5: New tools for the media in covering the Middle East - Infographics: merging journalism with design

With the acceleration in digital media, the popularity and sophistication of data visualisation in the form of infographics has grown tremendously in the last few years, becoming a key part of the toolkit relied on by activists and journalists around the world. In the Middle East, infographics have been used to varying degrees of success by all sides. In Japan, with a rich tradition in visual art forms and graphic design, infographics have also found their place in the overlapping worlds of journalism, communications, marketing and activism. This session discussed the impact of infographics, their advantages and disadvantages, and emerging ethics surrounding their use. Participants showcased examples of their work. 

Moderator: Ms. Margaret Novicki, Chief, Communications Campaigns Service, DPI

Mr. Ramzi Jaber - Visualizing Palestine Co-founder

Mr. Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Huffington Post Live

Ms. Roni Levit, Infographic designer

Mr. Takashi Tokuma, bowlgraphics

First day: 16:30 - 18:15 | Panel 3: Coverage and narratives surrounding Palestinian refugees - turning the spotlight on Yarmouk

As the crisis in Syria continues to spread, Palestinian refugees face violence, displacement, and lack of basic resources such as food and healthcare. Already a vulnerable minority in Syria, many Palestinian refugees and their families now face the unbearable choice of staying in their homes and risking their safety, or fleeing and facing further displacement. Thanks in part to a highly effective advocacy campaign by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the desperate plight of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk has made it onto the front pages of newspapers and into the minds of policy makers. This panel discussed the evolution in narratives surrounding the lives of Palestinian refugees, especially in light of Yarmouk. Experts also discussed UNRWA’s efforts to highlight the suffering in Yarmouk as part of its push to get access to the camp for desperately needed humanitarian access. 

Moderator: Mr. Chris Gunness, Spokesperson, UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

Ms. Phyllis Bennis, Director, New Internationalism Project Institute for Policy Studies

Mr. Nidal Bitari, Palestinian Association for Human Rights in Syria

Mr. Faisal Irshaid, BBC World   

Professor Ryoji Tateyama, Visiting Fellow, Institute of Energy Economics, and Professor Emeritus, National Defense Academy, Japan

First day: 14:15 - 16:00 | Panel 2: Shifting narratives in media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Middle East peace efforts

This session discussed how narratives in media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Middle East peace efforts might have shifted, especially in light of the major developments in the past 12 months such as the Kerry initiative and the Palestinian reconciliation deal.

Moderator: Ms. Deborah Seward, Director, Strategic Communications Division, UN Department of Public Information (DPI)

Mr. Nobuhisa Degawa, Senior Commentator, NHK

Ms. Nour Odeh, Founder and CEO, Connect Strategic Communications Consultancy

Mr. Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine

Mr. Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Huffington Post Live

First day: 10:30 - 12:15 | Panel 1: The status of peace efforts - what now?

It has now been more than two decades since the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Governing Arrangements – better known as the Oslo Accords.  However, while the international community remains committed to the creation of an independent, viable and sustainable Palestinian state, and security for Israel, and despite the recent initiative on the part of U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, there has been no progress towards peace. In the meantime, dramatic changes continue to re-shape the political landscape in the wider region. This session looked at internationally-sponsored peace efforts over the last 12 months, their current status, and what might lie ahead for relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Moderator: Mr. Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal

Ms. Phyllis Bennis, Director, New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies

Mr. Avraham Burg, International Coordinator, Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue

Ambassador Yutaka Iimura, Special Representative of the Government of Japan for the Middle East and Europe

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations


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