AJC Launches Transatlantic Institute in Brussels

AJC Launches Transatlantic Institute in Brussels

February 12, 2004 -  Brussels - European foreign ministers addressed a gala dinner on Thursday to celebrate the opening of the Transatlantic Institute, the American Jewish Committee's latest initiative in international diplomacy.

"The United States and Europe need each other now more than ever," said David A. Harris, AJC's executive director. "The ties that link this precious fraternity of kindred nations must never be permitted to fray, for they represent the best hope for the ultimate realization of a genuinely peaceful and prosperous world."

Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural dinner.

"I applaud the work done by the American Jewish Committee in strengthening the links between all the elements of these two interlocking triangles," Solana said at the dinner, referring to the relationships between America, Europe and Israel, and between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

"You have worked in the best traditions of that shared political heritage of which I spoke - openness, dialogue, and respect for the views of others," he continued. "I am sure that these values will guide the important work of the Transatlantic Institute."

Other speakers included Ana Palacio, foreign minister of Spain and Noelle Lenoir, France's Minister for European Affairs. The U.S. Representative to the EU, Ambassador Rockwell Anthony Schnabel, and the U.S. Representative to NATO, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, also attended the dinner.

Earlier in the day more than 100 members of AJC's national Board of Governors and leaders of European Jewish communities gathered for two forums, one on interreligious affairs in Europe and another on anti-Semitism in Europe.

Participating in the interfaith dialogue was Rabbi Bent Melchior, the chief rabbi of Denmark; Sayyed Nadeem Kazmi, director of international affairs and development, the Al-Khoei Foundation; and the Right Reverend Pierre Welté Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, Paris.

"The overriding goal of the Transatlantic Institute is not simply to identify common problems but, even more importantly, to help pinpoint constructive, forward looking solutions," Harris said.

The opening of the Transatlantic Institute is an extension of AJC's worldwide diplomatic activity, unparalleled in the NGO world. The AJC presence in Brussels comes on top of its long established offices in Berlin, Geneva, Jerusalem and Warsaw.

The Transatlantic Institute is made possible by the generosity of Rhoda and Jordan Baruch. Together with their children and grandchildren, the Baruchs affixed the mezuzah at the dedication of the office before the gala dinner.


Contact: Kenneth Bandler (212) 891-6771 PR@ajc.org

        Lisa Fingeret Roth (212) 891-1385 rothl@ajc.org

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