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UNIS/INF/420
1 July 2011

United Nations-organized International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East to Address Prospects for Peace,
in Hungary, 12 - 13 July 2011

"Prospects for Peace: Understanding Current Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles"

VIENNA, 1 July (UN Information Service) - 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, will be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, and is the nineteenth in a series organized by the Department of Public Information.

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.

Mr. Robert Serry, the 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, will be a keynote speaker at the seminar.

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.

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For additional information and media queries at UN Headquarters, please contact:

Hasan Ferdous
Telephone: (+1-212) 953-6555
Email: ferdous[at]un.org

For additional information and media queries at the UN Office in Vienna, please contact:

Regina Rohrbach
Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-3898
Email: regina.rohrbach[at]unvienna.org

Media representatives who wish to attend the seminar should register by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, 11 July with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Department (Telephone: (+36-1) 458-1403 or (+36-1) 458-1413; Email: sajto[at]kum.hu). Media representatives are requested to arrive at the Foreign Ministry Building by 9.00 a.m. on 12 July.