30 June 2011
Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Background Release

United Nations-organized International Media Seminar on Middle East Peace

to Address Prospects for Peace, in Hungary, 12-13 July

Theme of Meeting ‘ Prospects for Peace:

Understanding Current Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles ’

The prospects for peace in the Middle East will be the subject of an international media seminar organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information on 12 and 13 July in Budapest, Hungary. 

Held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, the two-day meeting will bring together approximately 40 participants from the Middle East — including Israelis and Palestinians — as well as from other parts of the world.  Participants will include current and former policy-makers, Government officials, diplomats, civil society organizations, academia and journalists.

The objective of the seminar is to enhance dialogue and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, while sensitizing public opinion to the question of Palestine and the peace process.

The seminar will examine the prospects for peace in the region, including against the backdrop of the changing political landscape in North Africa and the Middle East.   The role of new media and visual media, as well as that of the creative community in promoting the peace agenda through better people-to-people contacts, will also be examined.

The seminar, which is mandated by the General Assembly and organized by the Department of Public Information, has been held annually since 1991, with the exception of 1995, 1996, and 2000.  This year’s seminar will be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary.

Representing the host country, Minister for Foreign Affairs János Martonyi will address the seminar at the opening session.  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to issue a message to the participants, which will be delivered by Kiyo Akasaka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.

The Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Information and the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations, Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri, and Hungarian media personality and Editor of Daily Magyar Nemzet, Levente Sitkei will moderate panel discussions.

Richard Miron, Spokesperson and Chief Public Information Officer, will deliver a keynote address on behalf of Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestine Authority.

The seminar will include five panels:  The Middle East Peace Process:  Overcoming the standstill; The changing landscape in North Africa and the Middle East:  Implications for Israeli-Palestinian peace; The role of media in transforming societies; Putting a face on conflict:  The role of social media, TV and photojournalism; and Towards peace:  Understanding the “other”.

Arrangements have been made for simultaneous interpretation in Arabic, English, Hebrew and Hungarian throughout the seminar.  Also expected to take part in the discussions are representatives of the media from the Middle East, Europe and other regions of the world.

For additional information and media queries at United Nations Headquarters, please contact Hasan Ferdous, tel.:  +1 212 963 6555; e-mail:  ferdous@un.org.

For additional information and media queries at the United Nations Office in Vienna, please contact Anne Thomas, Information Officer, UNIS Vienna, tel.: (+43-1) 26060 5588, mobile:  (+43) 699 1459 5588; e-mail:  anne.thomas@unvienna.org.

Media representatives who wish to attend the seminar should register by 3 p.m. on Monday, 11 July, with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Department, tel.: (+36-1) 458 1403 or (+36-1) 458 1413; e-mail: sajto@kum.hu.  Media representatives are requested to arrive at the Foreign Ministry Building by 9 a.m. on 12 July.

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For information media • not an official record