October 22nd, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Senior Staff from European Parliament, Related EU Institutions Visiting Israel
Jerusalem, Israel - With the European Union likely to assume an ever-increasing influential foreign policy role, important questions face the European-Israel relationship. How will the European Union address the threat of a nuclear Iran? As Israel’s largest trade partner, what are the options for enhancing investment, scientific, and cultural cooperation? How will the European Union approach such pressing foreign policy issues as the Middle East peace process, state and non-state actors such as Hezbollah and Hamas and their impact not only on Israel, but the region as a whole?
These questions and more will be explored - on location - when a group of ten senior staffers from the European Parliament and related institutions visit Israel beginning this Sunday (October 25) for a five-day educational seminar organized by Washington- and Jerusalem-based Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee.
With Israel-EU relations at a critical juncture, the visit is intended to provide the delegation with a better understanding of Israel’s history, diversity, and strategic objectives.
The group consists primarily of foreign policy advisors to Members of the European Parliament, where staffs tend to be small and hold considerable influence. Many are active participants of a parliamentary committee that handles relations with Israel. Also participating will be delegates from NATO and the European Saving Bank.
The seminar marks the fifth European delegation this year that Project Interchange is hosting in Israel - three have been multi-national, while a seminar in June was composed of German leaders.
The seminar is intended to provide these leaders with a first-hand experience and understanding of Israel and its rich, dynamic and often-times complicated reality. The trip includes meetings with leaders across the political and social spectrum in Israel, including Members of Knesset, senior Israeli diplomats, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. The delegation will traverse much of Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Northern border, the security fence, and settlements, in order to see Israel first-hand, “beyond-the-headlines”. Discussion topics range from the Iranian threat, to protecting civil rights while combating terrorism, to Israel as a worldwide leader in medicine, technology and environmental sustainability.
The Project Interchange seminar participants include:
Larisa DRAGOMIR, Banking Supervision Advisor, European Savings Bank Group/World Savings Bank Institute, Romania
Donna EDMUNDS, Political Advisor to Roger Helmer: Member of the European Parliament, England
Diana GIERSTORFER, Advisor, Office of Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, European Parliament, Germany
Lucian GOLEANU, Policy Advisor, Communication Unit of the ALDE Group, European Parliament, Romania
Johanna HASTING, Parliamentary Assistant to Michael Theurer: Member of the European Parliament, Germany
Cosima MÖLLER, Policy advisor to Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Member of the European Parliament and President of the Green/EFA Group, Germany
Radoslava STEFANOVA, Officer in NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, Italy
Frank VAN DER MAAS, Assistant to Bastiaan Belder: Member of the European Parliament, Netherlands
Maria VON STERN, Policy Assistant to Ismail Ertug: Member of the European Parliament, Germany
James WARWICK, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Charles Tannock: Member of the European Parliament, England
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For more about Project Interchange and how it connects leaders worldwide to Israel: www.projectinterchange.org.
Project Interchange, a non-profit institute of the American Jewish Committee, develops and executes educational seminars in Israel for current and emerging United States and international leaders.
Since 1982, Project Interchange (PI) has equipped over 5,000 seminar participants from over 60 countries with a balanced foundation for understanding Israel’s history, diversity, and strategic objectives. Past delegations have included government officials, civic and business leaders, print and broadcast journalists, ethnic and religious leaders, university presidents and media, and Rhodes Scholars.
Project Interchange seminars are highly interactive and promote dialogue on a wide array of complex issues.
Project Interchange is headquartered in Washington DC and maintains an office in Jerusalem, Israel.