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26/11/2016 - 07:00hs

Experts to debate Palestine at Brazilian university

Foreign and local experts on the Palestinian issue will attend a seminar at University of São Paulo (USP) on December 6. Palestinian writer Nur Masalha and Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera former director general, will be among them.

Press Release

Journalist Ben White will come to São Paulo

São Paulo – An international seminar in the city of São Paulo on December 6 will gather the most renowned foreign and local experts on Palestinian issues. Palestinian historian and writer Nur Masalha, the former CEO at Al Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, the director of the Middle Monitor, Daud Abdullah, and journalist Ben Piven will be among the lecturers and will debate the integration of Palestine into the global agenda.

The event is open to the public and registration can be made free of charge (click link below). The seminar is called “Brazilian Perspectives on Palestine in a Changing Middle East” and is being organized by the Center for Arab Studies of the University of São Paulo (USP) in partnership with the Foreign Affairs Institution of the same university, the Middle East Monitor, from London, and the Common Action Forum, from Madrid.

“To organize a seminar at USP, with this type of partners, was a way to bring to São Paulo, to our students, to the public in general, some of the great debates that have been occupying the mind and efforts of scholars and opinion leaders throughout the world,” says Arlene Clemesha, historian and director of the Center for Arab Studies at USP. Some of the speakers are considered to be important opinion leaders on the Palestine issue.

The Center usually holds international seminars to discuss the directions being taken by the Middle East and Brazil’s position within this context. That gave rise to a group of researchers dedicated to the topic, the Middle East Research Center, a branch of the Center for Arab Studies and the Foreign Affairs Institution. The partnership with the Middle East Monitor was created based on contacts made during a seminar organized by the organization in London in 2015, according to Clemesha. The think-tank Common Action Forum researches the Arab issue within the context of the world’s main questions.

The seminar plans to discuss current outlooks and debate the political discourse on Palestine in Brazil, intellectually expose and dispel myths about the country, promote public debate and help speed up its decolonization, says the event’s promotional material.

“This seminar plans to contribute to update the debate through all these angles – from the academic and historiographical production on Palestine and the participation of civil society to the thoughts on the existing and to be created conditions to allow the development of democracy in the Middle East, as a local process, free to develop, without the impacts from the veiled interests that for over one hundred years have been interfering with the course of the regional history,” said Clemesha in an email interview with ANBA.

The historian points out that Brazil has had an increasing presence in the global stage marked by an agenda that shows concern with the promotion of human rights with, and not at the expense of national sovereignty, such as would be in the case of military interventions. “Indeed, our presence in the world is not via military actions, but through influence and cultural, intellectual collaboration and, notably, an increasing role of local civil societies in joint actions with groups of civil society throughout the world, in defense of human rights, the environment, and so on,” says the director.

Speaker Daud Abdullah, besides being Middle East Monitor’s director, has also published many articles and books on Islam and the Palestine issue, and is the former deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. Other lecturer, Masalha, is the director of the Centre for Religion and History of St Mary’s University, in the United Kingdom, and also published books on Palestine. Wadah Khanfar played an active role in Al Jazeera's becoming a global media network.

Also set to speak are Arlene Clemesha, Ben White, a researcher specialized in Palestine and Israel, Soraia Misleh, the press and media director of the Institute of Arab Culture (Icarabe), Cecília Baeza, a professor of Foreign Affairs, Ben Piven, a journalist who covered the Arab Spring, Pedro Charbel, the Latin America coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions National Committee, and Shajar Goldwaser, an Israeli researcher.

Other lecturers are Felipe Loureiro, holder of a doctor’s degree in Economic History, Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker, psychoanalyst, and Hussein Kalout, political scientist, professor and researcher of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

In addition to the debates, the Palestinian animated documentary “The Wanted 18,” which tells the story of 18 cows bought by Palestinians to produce milk that were declared to be a threat to Israel, will be screened. There will also be a photo exhibition organized by Galeria P21.

The event has the support of USP’s History Department and will be held at the Nicolay Sevcenko auditorium in the Philosophy, Language and Human Sciences Department of the university. The organizers are expecting academics, diplomats, journalists and human rights activists to attend the seminar. Students from USP, other universities and high schools, plus members of the Arab and Jewish communities in the city of São Paulo, are also expected to attend.

Quick info

International Seminar
“Brazilian Perspectives on Palestine in a Changing Middle East”
December 6, 2016
Nicolau Sevcenko Auditorium of USP’s Philosophy, Language and Human Sciences Department
Open to the general public, free admission
Registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brazilian-perspectives-on-palestine-in-a-changing-middle-east-tickets-29346013717 or via email perspectivas.palestinas@gmail.com

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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