Latest News

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 10:27
Dawoud Abu Lebdeh East Jerusalem - The Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange last week was a very emotional moment for thousands of Palestinians who were reunited with family members they had not seen for years. But it came at a price. Some of the public perceive the prisoner release deal as an achievement for Hamas’ militant approach, a success story that Palestinian diplomatic efforts and negotiations with Israel have not yet been able to deliver. The prisoners swap came only a few weeks after all eyes were on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he stood before the United Nations General Assembly and submitted a request to recognise Palestine as a full and permanent member of the international organisation. One of the reasons that Abbas had decided to go to the UN was his belief that diplomatic work would bring better results to the Palestinian people than armed resistance. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) leadership is convinced that renewed violence would bring...Read More
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 10:26
Dawoud Abu Lebdeh East Jerusalem - The Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange last week was a very emotional moment for thousands of Palestinians who were reunited with family members they had not seen for years. But it came at a price. Some of the public perceive the prisoner release deal as an achievement for Hamas’ militant approach, a success story that Palestinian diplomatic efforts and negotiations with Israel have not yet been able to deliver. The prisoners swap came only a few weeks after all eyes were on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he stood before the United Nations General Assembly and submitted a request to recognise Palestine as a full and permanent member of the international organisation. One of the reasons that Abbas had decided to go to the UN was his belief that diplomatic work would bring better results to the Palestinian people than armed resistance. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) leadership is convinced that renewed violence would bring...Read More
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:15
James E. Jones New Haven, Connecticut - When the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on 4 August 1968, I did not understand how the loss of this powerful, positive presence impacted all Americans. At the time, as an African American activist and student government Vice President at Hampton University, I was aware that his death meant a lot to black people and young people. Consequently, in this tense environment, I helped organise a peaceful march from the university campus to downtown Hampton, Virginia comprising the majority of the campus community. While this protest focused on the death of King and racial discrimination in Hampton, at that time I failed to grasp the full significance of King’s work. One reason for my myopic vision was that I had fallen in love with The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley. I agreed with the 1960s civil rights activist Malcolm X when he stated repeatedly, “It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself...Read More
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:14
Mehrunisa Qayyum and Ramah Kudaimi Washington, DC - In August 2011 the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center released a report in which the key finding was that Muslim Americans are among the most integrated and successful citizens in the United States. To accompany these statistics, personal stories highlight how, unlike first-generation immigrants who tended focused their activism on fundraising for the development of their countries back home, second-generation Muslim Americans are dedicating their time instead to resolving domestic problems and engaging in interfaith dialogue. Our focus is on our current homeland – the United States. One missing aspect of the current Muslim American narrative is this contribution, by Muslims, to civic engagement such as community service, political activity, service-learning, activism and advocacy in the United States. Instead of concentrating on what Muslim Americans think, as many polls and think tanks currently do, focusing on what they actually do...Read More
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:13
Michael Felsen Boston, Massachusetts - There’s something very disconcerting about a recently conducted Israeli public opinion poll. The survey, undertaken for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth at the beginning of this month, revealed that 66 per cent of Israeli Jews don’t believe that there will ever be peace with the Palestinians. In the same poll, 88 per cent responded that Israel is a good place to live. Explaining findings that seem irreconcilable, pollster Mina Tzemach remarked: "As a defence mechanism, we make a separation between our personal lives and what is going on in the country. We're completely aware of what is happening here, but we don't let that influence us. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to live here." Let’s examine some of the facts of which Israelis are “completely aware”. They include, presumably, the marked determination of the Palestinian people to have their own sovereign state, the reverberations of the Arab...Read More
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:12
Samar Fatany Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - The recent decision by Saudi King Abdullah to allow women to run and vote in municipal elections and become members of the Shura Council, a parliament that acts as an advisory council to the King but has no legislative powers, has huge implications for the status of women in Saudi Arabia and has provided them with hope for what they may accomplish with their new roles. In his 26 September inaugural speech at the Shura Council, King Abdullah rejected the marginalisation of women in all sectors and encouraged their participation in political life. Citing examples of prominent women throughout Islamic history, his speech showed great determination to empower Saudi women and end attempts to undermine their role in the name of Islam. The King stressed the need to modernise society and attacked those who opposed the inclusion of women in decision-making processes. King Abdullah’s decision has followed several statements in which he publically...Read More
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:11
Samah Hussain Manama - My interest in political and human rights and social media started recently with the revolution in Egypt. Before January 2011, politics and human rights never interested me. But like many other Arab youth, the changes in the Arab world opened my eyes and mind to a new world. And there is no turning back. In early 2011, the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt gave me, and many others, the courage to voice our thoughts without fear or hesitation. When the tide of Arab Awakening reached Bahrain, I decided I needed to have a louder voice as a woman and I established an online presence by creating my own blog under my real name. At first, I was afraid of the possible repercussions. But when people began to be harassed, arrested and killed in the protests, the fear in me was killed too. I watched those people sacrifice everything, while I helplessly stood still. After that, I felt I needed to share what was once very personal to me – my writings – with the...Read More
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 11:10
Robi Damelin Tel Aviv - The whole country is talking about it: over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were involved in suicide attacks in which lives were lost, will be freed in exchange for the kidnapped Israeli solider Gilad Shalit who had been held in captivity in Gaza for over five years. Today the prisoner's swap dominated world news when Gilad was freed at the same time as 477 of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. While it’s clear that everyone in Israel is happy to see Gilad reunited with his family, among bereaved parents there are some who feel that those responsible for the death of their loved ones should never walk free. I lost my son David in a shooting incident in the West Bank in 2002. Initially, I was told that my son’s killer would be released this week. Now it is not clear whether or not has or will be freed as part of the deal. But when it seemed likely that he would, I took some time out to search deep inside myself to see what I honestly feel. Do...Read More
Monday, October 17, 2011 - 11:01
Rasha Dewedar Cairo - Egyptian film is the most widely viewed cinema in the Arab world, and Egypt is one of a few countries in the region that has maintained this industry since the 1930s, despite war and instability. Accordingly, Egyptian movies, which have long inspired people across the Arab world, have significant potential to positively affect women’s roles in the region and address social issues that might otherwise be taboo for mainstream media, such as divorce – something that affects Egyptian women of all socio-economic levels. "Currently divorce rates in Egypt are very high, yet we don't see [portrayals of] the financial and psychological challenges divorced women face on the big screen. On the contrary, they are portrayed as opportunists whose only aim is to catch a husband. This is extremely unfair," said Farida Mar'y, a movie critic. While women in the Arab world face many challenges, divorced women, especially in Egypt, face some significant...Read More
Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 17:25
Paramadina Public Policy Institute mengundang Bapak/Ibu/Saudara pada Seminar dan Diskusi Hasil Penelitian: "Mencari Solusi Masalah Pertanahan, Mendorong Pembangunan Nasional". Kualitas infrastruktur merupakan salah satu kunci bagi daya saing bangsa. Sayangnya, carut-marut masalah pertanahan sering menghambat upaya memperbaiki kondisi infrastruktur kita. Proses pembebasan tanah yang berbelit sering menjadi momok, tidak saja bagi para investor tetapi juga bagi rakyat yang hidupnya bergantung pada tanah yang dimilikinya. Seminar ini akan mendiskusikan berbagai alternatif solusi yang lebih adil bagi semua pihak.   Waktu:  Selasa, 18 Oktober 2011, 09:30 - 12:00 (dilanjutkan press conference) Tempat:  Kampus S2 Paramadina, Energy Tower, Lantai 22, SCBD, Jakarta  Sambutan:  Anies Baswedan (Rektor Universitas Paramadina) Pembicara: - Yuswanda AT (Deputi Kepala BPN) - Budiman Sudjatmiko (Anggota DPR RI) - Muhidin Said (Anggota DPR RI) -...Read More
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 16:37
Anita Sinha Washington, DC - The Occupy Wall Street movement protesting against corporate practices has me daring to hope that the striking disparities in the United States will change for the better. It takes a leap of faith to be hopeful, because substantial change has not come in response to the economic crisis, housing market crash, persistent high unemployment rates or debt ceiling debacle. The institutions causing these disasters have received only a cursory slap on the wrist. In fact, research released in July by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank focusing on low- and middle-income Americans, concludes that most gains in wealth since 1983 have gone to the top five per cent of households, while wealth gains declined for the bottom 60 per cent. While most Americans are still reeling from the recession, Forbes announced in July that “[t]he rich are now richer than before the 2008 credit meltdown.” The economic challenges of the last 30 years have not been...Read More
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 16:21
Paola Salwan Daher Beirut - I have always thought that engaging with other women is one of the most beautiful and exciting parts of being a women's rights activist. My last conversation about women's rights took place via email, and was sponsored by the Common Ground News Service as a new initiative in which women’s rights activists in the Middle East were paired with their counterparts in other countries. I was paired with Idil Aybars, Research Fellow at the Center for European Studies at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. My conversation with Idil proved as rewarding as past encounters with women’s rights activists. In our discussion, Idil and I shared our views on how to most effectively reach out to women in our communities in order to mobilise them so they could increase their rights The need to talk and listen to women – of all backgrounds – is paramount if we want to achieve true equality. And we cannot talk about women's rights while...Read More
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 15:43
Khawar Mann London - The riots on our streets this summer showed us the importance of engaging with the youth of our country. The education system represents an ideal opportunity to do so at an early stage. Indeed, education for young people in the UK grabbed the headlines once again during the recent UK political party conferences. Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, for example, called for a reduced cap on tuition fees and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, spoke of pumping £2.5 billion into the Pupil Premium – a government-funded programme targeting disadvantaged children. Yet, while politicians debate about how to make education more accessible, we must not be side-tracked from the most important issue: the quality and purpose of education. For many people, what we witnessed during the riots was particularly disturbing because of the chilling nihilism displayed by many of those taking part. But how do you go about connecting with someone who values stealing a new...Read More
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 15:25
Naazish YarKhan Chicago, Illinois - The world has become a smaller place and information flows in breath-taking quantities. Yet there is a paucity of conversations between people of different nations. Relying by and large on media reports of the “other”, our understanding of nations and their people is scarily lopsided. Even as citizens in a globalised world we often only have part of the story, especially when it comes to women in other cultures or countries. I recognised this dilemma again when approached to write this article following my participation in a project sponsored by the Common Ground News Service, which paired women’s rights activists in the Middle East with counterparts in other countries through email and facilitated conversations. The goal was to provide an informal forum where they can support one another and provide examples of best practices, novel approaches and other tools that have helped create progress in their efforts. My conversation...Read More
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 15:09
Haggai Matar Tel Aviv - "I personally don't have a problem with Israelis, but for your own sake you’d better not tell others around here where you're from," a taxi driver said to me during my last visit to Amman. Little did it help to explain that I attend demonstrations against the Occupation regularly and came to Jordan with Palestinian friends. However, one fact did catch his attention and convinced him that I may not be an enemy to the Arab world after all: almost ten years ago I refused the draft, and spent two years in an Israeli military prison for it. "If you say that, I guess you'll be okay with more or less everybody," concurred the driver. That driver's response was in no way unique, and over the years I have learnt that refusal to serve in the army offers a very strong bridge between Israelis and Palestinians. Ten years ago this month I was part of a group of young high school students which published the Shministim (Seniors) Letter to then-...Read More
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 14:43
 “Creating Winning Fundraising For Health Program” Hotel Kinasih – Puncak Sukabumi Bogor Selasa - Kamis, 25 – 27 Oktober 2011   Bagaimana menggalang dukungan dan sumber daya untuk program kesehatan? Bagaimana skema dan bentuk dukungan yang bisa digalang? Bagaimana teknik mengemas dan mempromosikan program kesehatan kepada donatur individu, perusahaan, pemerintah maupun yayasan amal? Apa saja yang harus disiapkan untuk memobilisasi dukungan untuk program kesehatan? Semua seluk beluk terkait penggalanan dukungan untuk program kesehatan ini akan dikupas dalam training dan outboand: ”Creating Winning Fundraising For Health Program”     BENEFIT YANG DIDAPAT  ·         Mendapat praktek terbaik langsung dari pelaku fundraising yang akan memberika ide-ide baru selama pelatihan berlangsung ·         Kesempatan untuk berbagi...Read More
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 10:36
Nadra Kareem Nittle Los Angeles, California - Scores of celebrations will take place in Washington, DC in conjunction with the 16 October dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. However, 43 years after King’s assassination, his dream has yet to be fulfilled. As we dedicate his memorial, each of us should look back on his dream for equality, justice and peace in our country and the world, and remember that King’s vision extended well beyond race. Just before his life abruptly ended, King had been working to direct national attention to poverty. In 1968, the Poor People’s Campaign took place in Washington, DC. King’s cohorts organised this protest after his death to demand that the government provide homes, jobs and resources to underprivileged Americans. Surely King would be disappointed to know that today 46.2 million Americans live in poverty – an all-time high since the 1950s when the government began recording such...Read More
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 10:35
Gershon Baskin Jerusalem - Dear President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, Welcome home. You both did a fine job at the UN and represented the cause of your peoples’ struggle for existence and peace with great honour. You can both claim victory and come home to a hero’s welcome. Much parallelism can be drawn from understanding the public opinion on both sides. Both peoples are convinced that they want peace and are even more convinced that there is no partner for peace on the other side. Both sides really have no strategic option other than reaching a negotiated agreement and know more or less what a peace agreement will look like, but neither side is willing to put a real offer on the table that could be accepted by the other. After 20 years of a peace process we have ended up at a stalemate – with each side claiming victory. But what kind of victory is it when we all lose hope that peace can exist? The Palestinian move in the UN, while far from successful, has...Read More
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 10:33
Juul Petersen Beirut - Lebanese women are fighting a silent revolution on the football field through the popular club programme of the Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) in Lebanon, which provides educational activities for those in post-conflict countries. Farah and Mirna are two young women on an important mission: they want to change Lebanese society by promoting gender equality and giving young girls the opportunities they didn’t have themselves. “We are here at the CCPA seminar because we want to change something,” says 28-year-old Mirna. Together with her friend Farah, Mirna is taking part in a seminar in Beirut for volunteers in the CCPA Popular Club programme. The two school teachers want to establish their own sports club for girls in their hometown. “There is nothing like this in our town. All sports clubs are for boys and men, but we want to make a club for girls – and only girls!” says Farah, who has been living in a little town...Read More
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 10:31
Syed Mohammad Ali Lahore, Pakistan - At the behest of UNESCO, the world-famous fine arts auction house Christie’s has halted a planned auction this month of a fasting Buddha, a nearly 2,000-year-old statue from the Gandhara civilisation, which was believed to have been stolen from Pakistan and sold to a private collector in Germany in the 1980s. Pakistani authorities must prove their claim that the sale was illegal if they are to recover this valuable artefact. What will become of this artefact remains to be seen, yet this news evokes realisation of the rich cultural heritage of this country, despite its increasingly tarnished image as a hub of myopia and intolerance. Located at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, Western Asia and the Arab Gulf region, Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage is in fact both diverse and unique. It’s historical sites range from the ancient urban settlements of Mohenjo-daro from the Indus Valley civilisation of Sindh and the rich...Read More

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