Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Conference on Palestine: Education and Empowerment

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Conference on Palestine: Education and Empowerment

Article excerpt

CONFERENCE ON PALESTINE: EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT

Despite the powerlessness pro-Palestinian supporters are feeling these days, more than 120 individuals overcame their discouragement at the first Conference on Palestine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Conference--smartly titled "Education and Empowerment"--was held March 17 at the University of Michigan campus.

"Iraqis, Syrians, Bangladeshis, Americans, Egyptians, and many others were involved in putting this together," said conference chairman and UM electrical engineering doctoral student Idris Elbakri. "It was a true demonstration for universal justice."

The conference, planned since December 2000, addressed a variety of issues designed to empower activists. Sessions included: Media Activism, featuring Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American Islamic Relations; Grassroots and Campus Activism, with David Sole of the International Action Center and Altaf Hussain of the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada; Effective Political Lobbying, featuring Steve Gallop of Congressman David Bonior's office; and Effective Relief Work, with Steve Sosebee, founder and director of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund, and Global Relief Foundation's Rabih Haddad.

Sosebee, who first went to Palestine in 1988 as a human rights delegate with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, also gave the keynote speech at a well-attended dinner. He discussed the current realities on the ground in Palestine, stemming from the Oslo accords and leading up to the current intifada. …

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