Knowledge and Perspectives of UN Ambassadors Available in Streaming Video

Arab League Representative Sees Peace with Israel as Precondition for Progress in the Arab World

Teaneck, NJ (April 18, 2005) -- Last week, the Ambassador of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, H.E. Yahya Mahmassani, discussed the crisis in the Arab world at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

"We're not blaming others at all, we're blaming ourselves,” he said. “We know there is something wrong in the Arab world. But you cannot absolutely ignore [the] major problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” He insisted, however, that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not used deliberately by Arab leaders to distract attention from domestic concerns such as poverty, disease, and economic development.

The Ambassador believes that democracy will only emerge in the Arab world gradually and through internal reform. “Of course democracy is not a pill, is not a Tylenol that you put in your mouth and that’s it,” Mahamassani said. “Democracy is something that grows up, is watered and is nourished. It needs civil society. It needs people who understand what it means.”

The extraordinary experience of hearing Ambassador Mahmassani can be shared – worldwide — through the high quality streaming video offered by the University’s Global Issues Gateway Web site (http://www.gig.org) – a portal to news and views from throughout the world, serving students, teachers and global citizens.

“The GIG multimedia archive provides the general public with unique access to candid comments by prominent United Nations insiders,” said Jason Scorza, GIG.org General Editor and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Science.

Available on the Web site are stimulating presentations from the current semester, including H.E. Omer Onhon, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey, discussing the prospects and challenges involving Turkey and the European Union. The past, present and future of the Balkans and Yugoslavia was the topic for H.S. Ambassador Darko Silovic, the last ambassador of Yugoslavia to the United Nations.

"Throughout the year, a number of United Nations ambassadors and delegates visit the two FDU campuses to speak on a range of topics specific to their region, issues of global significance and current events," said Michael Sperling, vice provost for global learning. The UN Pathways Program is co-sponsored by the Ambassador’s Club at the United Nations.

“The range of ideas and expertise represented in the streaming video archive promotes global learning," he said, “which is an integral part of the University’s mission -- to prepare global citizens.”

The archive includes a discussion on the role of women in Islam by H.E. Nabeela Al-Mulla, Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the United Nations. The Cuban Ambassador, Orlando Requeijo-Gual, shares his views on vanishing borders and human rights.

Streaming video of the United Nations Ambassadors of Brazil, Romania, Ecuador and Sweden interacting with University audiences is available on the site, as are presentations by the UN Ambassadors of Iran, Australia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany, Jordan, Spain, India and Japan.

In addition to on-campus lectures, the UN Pathways program features interactive video conferences with UN ambassadors and other officials. They are regularly broadcast from UN Headquarters in New York City through the University’s interactive television network and are available in streaming video.

“By bringing together interactive television conferencing, media streaming, and web-based courses,” said Scorza, “Fairleigh Dickinson University is using technology synergistically to promote global learning.”

About GIG.org

Developed by Fairleigh Dickinson University and launched in November, 2004, the Global Issues Gateway ( http://www.gig.org ) is an educational Web site intended to illuminate the various impacts of globalization by providing information, commentary, and other global learning resources. FDU faculty oversee topic areas dealing with the global aspects of culture, economics, ethics, politics and science.

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Gretchen Johnson

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