Towards Global Reconciliation - Middle East Summit

By Rmit University, PRNE
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

MELBOURNE, Australia, December 11 - An international summit bringing together more than 300 reconciliation
experts from around the world to tackle global cultural, racial, religious
and political difference will be held in Amman, Jordan, from Monday.

Professor Paul James, Pathways to Reconciliation Summit co-convenor and
Director of RMIT University Global Cities Research Institute, says in a
forthcoming book: "The Jews and Arabs of Israel-Palestine have been bound up
with each in the past, are mutually constituting in the present, and -
whatever the political decision about state sovereignty - will be
interconnected in the future.

"A simple and 'ordinary' act of reconciliation to counter the 'ordinary'
acts of displacement might involve some Arabs, Jews, Christians and others
working together across the Middle East, the Balkans and beyond to reopen a
mosque, a church and a synagogue that have been over the years submerged in
the rubbish of continuing violence," Professor James said.

The Pathways to Reconciliation Summit is supported by HRH Prince Hassan
of Jordan, RMIT and Monash University. Summit themes include health and
medicine, arts and culture, money and livelihoods, spirituality and
celebration, education and learning and sport and recreation. The summit will
introduce the Living Archive, a resource for learning about exemplary
grass-roots reconciliation.

Pathways to Reconciliation Summit patrons include the Reverend Desmond
, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Jose Ramos-Horta, Sir William Deane, Dr
Lowitja O'Donaghue, Professor Bernard Lown, and Professor Amartya Sen.

The Summit will also launch "Being Arab: Arabism and the Politics of
Recognition," Christopher Wise and Paul James, eds, Arena Publications,

"Being Arab" appears at a time of unprecedented historical crisis for
non-sectarian Arabist thought and social movements. Events of the last
decade, especially the US-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, have drawn
many analysts to conclude that the era of Arab identity politics has passed.

The theme of the historical meaning of Arab identity is pursued in "Being
Arab" in the hope of strengthening viable, non-sectarian and democratic
alternatives to Islamist fundamentalism in the Arab world.

The Pathways to Reconciliation Summit will be held in Amman from 14 to 17
December. More info:

Interviews: Professor Paul James, (generally
responds to emails within 10 minutes).

    For general media enquiries:
    RMIT University Communications,
    Paul Noonan,

Paul Noonan, RMIT University Communications, +61-409-239-021, paul.noonan at

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