UN Watch, AJC Seal Partnership

January 4, 2001

January 4, 2001 -  NEW YORK -- With the beginning of the New Year, UN Watch has become a fully integrated partner of the American Jewish Committee. www.unwatch.org

“Our partnership with UN Watch is a natural extension of the American Jewish Committee’s long-standing involvement with the United Nations from its founding and concern for Israel’s place in the international community,” said Bruce M. Ramer, president of the American Jewish Committee.

The Geneva-based UN Watch was established in 1993 by Ambassador Morris Abram, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Honorary President of the American Jewish Committee, to measure the performance of the UN system against the yardstick of its own Charter.

Since the creation of UN Watch, much of its efforts has focused on monitoring the continuing discriminatory treatment of Israel in the UN system and attitudes toward Jews in the world body, as well as those matters which concern American interests. UN Watch has also tackled such issues as reform, gender equality, protection of religious liberty, and promotion of tolerance.

UN Watch has gained the respect and praise of many outstanding world leaders.

“I deeply appreciate the valuable work performed by UN Watch,” Secretary General Kofi Annan has said. “I believe that informed and independent evaluation of the United Nations’ activities will prove a vital source as we seek to adapt the Organization to the needs of a changing world.”

And Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to the UN in New York, said Ambassador Abram has "pushed the United Nations to place higher priority on human rights” through his pioneering work at UN Watch.

The reach and activities of UN Watch evolved in conjunction with the expansion of the American Jewish Committee’s international diplomatic programs during the past decade.

After the passing of Ambassador Abram last March, David A. Harris, AJC’s Executive Director, was elected Chairman of UN Watch, and currently is spending a sabbatical year in Geneva where he has been deeply involved in the activities of the organization. Michael D. Colson, a Canadian-born attorney, has served as executive director of UN Watch since 1997.

The lay board of UN Watch includes a distinguished roster of international personalities long involved in such fields as politics, diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and communal service.

“It was long Morris’ desire to have UN Watch join with the American Jewish Committee,” said Mr. Harris. “The organization’s vital work in keeping the UN committed to its principles and serving as a constructive observer and, when necessary, critic is a testament to Morris Abram’s own ideals as an American diplomat and Jewish statesman. Morris believed deeply in the mission of the United Nations, but he also came to understand first-hand its shortcomings. True to character, rather than simply bemoan the weaknesses, he set about trying to correct them.”

UN Watch was established with the generous assistance of Edgar Bronfman, President of the World Jewish Congress. Eighteen months ago, the American Jewish Committee and the World Jewish Congress reached an agreement, approved by the international board of UN Watch, to transfer full control of the organization to AJC, an agreement that went into effect on January 1, 2001.

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

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

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