March 9 in Milwaukee: Brit Tzedek President Steve Masters with Ghaith al-Omari

Two exciting speakers are coming to Milwaukee on March 9th. They are Ghaith al-Omari (former senior adviser to Mahmoud Abbas and lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative) and Steve Masters (national president of BRIT TZEDEK V'SHALOM). Their biographies are given in appendix 1 below.

The will be two events:

12 Noon -1:50PM

A fundraising buffet luncheon to be held at the MAHARAJA restaurant on 1550 N Farwell Ave, where you will be able to informally meet with the speakers. The cost of the event is $25. The money will be used to pay for our expenses for this event. Any excess money will be donated to the Parents's Circle.  RSVP to by email.

2:30PM - 4:30PM

There will be a free talk and discussion on the topic:

2008: A Turning Point for Israeli-Palestinian Peace?
 
It will take place at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Fireside Lounge, 2200 East Kenwood Boulevard (between Stowell Avenue on the east and Maryland Avenue on the west, on the east side of Milwaukee)

Sponsors:
United Nations Association-USA Student Alliance
UWM Peace Studies Program
Americans for Peace Now-Milwaukee

For more information, contact Bob Kuhn at (414) 351-4536


APPENDIX 1 - BIOGRAPHIES

Ghaith Al-Omari

Ghaith al-Omari presently works for the American Task Force on Palestine (www.americantaskforce.org), a Palestinian American organization dedicated to a peaceful two state solution, and the New American Foundation (www.newamerica.net) in DC. I have been told he is an exceptional speaker.

He served in various senior positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Foreign Policy Advisor to the Palestinian President, Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and Senior Advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy -- especially vis- j-vis the United States and Israel -- and security. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been a member of the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999-2001). In that capacity, he
participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy.


Steve Masters
              
Steve Masters is Brit Tzedek's 2nd National President (www.btvshalom.org). He is a founding board member of Brit Tzedek and is the former national chair for advocacy. For the past 20 years, Steve has been actively engaged as a leader in the Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace community. Steve earned his B.A. in
Political Science from Yale University and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law. His law practice has included stints as a poverty lawyer, union-side labor lawyer and legislative attorney for the Philadelphia City Council.

While residing in Israel for a year in the mid-1980's, Steve worked as volunteer American attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and lectured on Zionism and Middle East peace issues for the Moshe Sharrett Institute of the World Labor Zionist Movement.

Steve sits on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council and Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Jewish Labor Committee and is a former board member of his synagogue Mishkan Shalom.

In 2003 Steve was featured in the documentary "PASSIONATE VOICES: American Jews and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" which aired on public television and was one of a handful of American Jews who
traveled to Geneva Switzerland to witness the public commitment ceremony for Israelis and Palestinian architects of the Geneva initiative on December 1, 2003.

In 2006 Steve became one of the Center for Progressive Leadership's inaugural Pennsylvania Fellows by completing its nine month intensive leadership development program for emerging leaders.


Appendix 2 - Parents Circle

The Parents Circle - Families Forum : Introduction

"Peace is possible when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable (.) the members of the Parents Circle have experienced this truth In the depths of their Suffering and loss.  They have found that there Is more that unites us than Divides us, that we are All members of one family, the human family (.)" Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus, Letter to The Parents Circle - Families Forum, April 2004

It is, as far as we know, a world precedent that bereaved families, victims from both sides, embark on a joint reconciliation mission while the conflict is still active. Consisting of several hundreds of bereaved families, half Palestinian and half Israeli, The Families Forum has played a crucial role since its inception in 1995, in spearheading a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians. The Forum members have all lost immediate family members due to the violence in the region.

Our mission statement

  • To prevent further bereavement, in the absence of peace
  • To influence the public and the policy makers- to prefer the way of peace on the way of war
  • To educate for peace and reconciliation
  • To promote the cessation of acts of hostility and the achievement of a political agreement
  • To prevent the usage of bereavement as a means of expanding enmity between our peoples
  • To uphold mutual support between our members

We strive to offer a breakthrough in people's frame of mind, to allow a change of perception, a chance to re-consider one's views and attitudes towards the conflict and the other side. The Forum activities are a unique phenomenon, in that they continue during all political circumstances and in spite of all tensions and violence in our region. Our members initiate and lead projects throughout the Israeli and Palestinian communities.


Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

info@btvshalom.org
www.btvshalom.org


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