AJC GLOBAL FORUM 2013 - JOIN THE INNER CIRCLE www.ajc.org/globalforum

Breakout Sessions


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Thursday, April 28 Friday, April 29


Thursday, April 28
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Why Be Jewish?
with AJC's Mervyn Danker, Regional Director-San Francisco

The challenges of being Jewish in a pluralistic, open society like the United States are numerous. Assimilation and attrition of Jews are today all too commonplace. This session will provide strong arguments for being Jewish: the beauty of the religion, the historic traditions, the age old values and the centrality of Israel all combining for a most appealing lifestyle choice. Participants will be given an opportunity to delve further into the question and offer their own insights and thoughts.

The Russian-Jewish Community and Its Future
with Cheryl Fishbein, Chair, AJC's National Committee on Russian-Jewish Affairs and
Sam Kliger, AJC's Director of Russian Jewish Community Affairs

The theory goes that the second generation of immigrants completely assimilates into mainstream society. This has led many to assume that in the framework of about 20-25 years, the epic immigration saga of Soviet Jews will be a part of ancient history. Indeed, what will happen with those Russian-Jews who were either born in the U.S. or arrived here with their families at childhood? Will they keep any semblance of their Russian-Jewish distinctive identity or simply become Americans, American Jews, or stay indifferent to their heritage? At this session, we will discuss the trends in identity search with young Russian-Jewish professionals including those who work in government, business, and NGOs. We will also be joined by the leaders of Jewish communities of the Former Soviet Union.

SOLD OUT -- China: Understanding the Rising Superpower
with AJC's Jim Busis, Director of the Asia Pacific Institute

Virtually all agree that the greatest shift in geopolitical power underway today is the rise of Asia, led by China and India. As a true emerging global superpower, China's policies and actions have a profound impact on American and Jewish interests and concerns, including such diverse areas as Iran, North Korea, the UN, the economy, the environment, and human rights. China is enormously complex, as are the West's relations with it. This session will focus on understanding China and how to productively engage with it from an AJC perspective.

The State of Christianity in the Middle East
with AJC's Rabbi David Rosen, Director of the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Institute for International and Interreligious Understanding

The Christian communities of the Middle East are facing existential threats, which have caused these ancient communities to dwindle. This session will explore the challenges facing Christian communities throughout the Middle East and what can be done to help them.

SOLD OUT -- Immigration, Integration and Identity: The Changing Face of Europe
with AJC's Deidre Berger, Director of the AJC Berlin/Lawrence and Lee Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations

In recent months German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron have declared their respective countries policies of "multiculturalism" a complete and utter failure. This session will focus on the challenges of multiculturalism, integration of immigrants and the ramifications for post-war European identity.

What You Don't Know about the New Tax Law that Could Affect You with a leading Trusts and Estates Attorney
An explanation of the new tax laws with a leading Trusts and Estates attorney.

SOLD OUT -- The Campaign Against Israel's Legitimacy on the World Stage
with AJC's Aaron Jacob, Associate Director of International Affairs

The campaign against Israel's legitimacy is the calling into question of the Jewish people's right to self-determination and the Jewish state's right to exist and defend itself. It is also the repeated and prejudicial condemnations of Israel's policies and conduct that have the effect of delegitimizing not only those policies and conduct, but also delegitimizing Israel itself. As the campaign against Israel intensifies, especially in the realm of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, this session will provide background information and answers to Israel's critics.

Political Advocacy 2.0: Leveraging Social Media
with AJC's Eli Wald, Assistant Legislative Director and Rebecca Keys, Assistant Director of Communications, AJC Boston

Social media is thought to be the mobilizing tool behind the recent uprisings in the Arab world that have transformed the political landscape. Decades-old despotic regimes throughout the region seemed completely flummoxed by the likes of Twitter and Facebook. This session will explore the power of social media and how it can be leveraged for political advocacy, particularly in a Jewish context.

Best Practices and Inspiration for Reaching Out to Young Leaders in Your Community with AJC's Rebecca Neuwirth, Director of ACCESS (AJC's New Generation Program)
There are many bright and idealistic young Jews in our country today who are making a difference in a myriad of fields. How does AJC inspire young leaders to be invested in our mission of protecting Jews and projecting a strong and positive Jewish voice into the political debate? How do we catalyze their energy within our structure and culture of collaboration? This session will explore the structural challenges of building young leadership at AJC and share some strategic and tactical insights that can build your city's program or help you start a vibrant one in the future.

Becoming an Interreligious and Intergroup Relations (IIR) Activist
with AJC's Noam Marans, Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations and
Emily Soloff, Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations

Are you interested in taking AJC's IIR work to the next level? Do you want to leverage existing relationships in furtherance of AJC's agenda? This session will give you the tools you need to generate interest among fellow AJCers and clarify priorities with Christians, Muslims, Latinos and others. Learn how to translate AJC's IIR goals into reality on the ground. Join us at this session and become part of AJC's national IIR vanguard on international and domestic issues. Open to IIR veterans and newcomers alike.

SOLD OUT -- Religious/Secular Tensions in Israel
with AJC's Dr. Steven Bayme, Director of the William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department/Dorothy and Julius Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations

One of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Diaspora, and indeed within Israeli society, has been the role of religion. As Israel's ultraorthodox population skyrockets in both numbers and political prowess, religious and secular tensions have only grown more severe. This session will explore the role of Judaism in the Jewish State and the religious/secular divide over the meaning of being a Jew in Israel.

Immigration Reform: It's Jewish and it Matters
with AJC's Ann Schafer, Director of the Belfer Center for American Pluralism, and Dalit Horn, Assistant Director of the Belfer Center for American Pluralism

The Jewish community can take a leadership role to fix a broken immigration system in the United States. This session will train you on effective reform activism that exemplifies Jewish values, strengthens our intergroup partnerships, and enhances America's economy and security.

Human Rights Advocacy and Genocide Prevention
With Felice Gaer, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Recent years have seen remarkable growth in institutional and legal developments regarding the prevention and punishment of genocide: indictments, convictions, courts and international mechanisms. Yet one critical lesson of the Holocaust and other genocides is that such crimes do not begin overnight. They are always preceded by a series of identifiable early warning signs or 'risk factors' signalling that genocide may be imminent. Sometimes these are mass atrocities, but in other cases they may be more subtle dehumanizing discriminatory measures that require a timely response. At this session, JBI Director Felice Gaer will discuss human rights advocacy strategies particularly related to genocide prevention and issues related to "the responsibility to protect" including the issue of "intervention" in the 21st century. Gaer will distribute booklets summarizing the findings of JBI's forthcoming publication in cooperation with the UN Secretary General's Adviser on Genocide Prevention, entitled Compilation of Risk Factors and Legal Norms for the Prevention of Genocide.

Friday, April 29
9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

SOLD OUT -- The Crisis in Israeli Politics: A Guide for the Perplexed
with AJC's Dr. Ed Rettig, Director, AJC Jerusalem Office

This session will explore the complexity of Israeli politics. Israel's many challenges find expression in its loud, often overheated political system. Learn about the strains and advantages of a coalition-based political system. Does it serve Israel well or should it be changed? And is it equipped to deal with the challenges of the Twenty-First Century?

Why the U.S. and Israel Need to Reengage Latin America
with AJC's Dina Siegel-Vann, Director of the Latino and Latin American Institute

For decades, Latin America has allegedly suffered from "benign neglect" by both the U.S. and Israel. The growing diplomatic and commercial presence of Iran, China, Russia, and the Arab nations in the region is a direct result of the lack of true engagement by Israel and the U.S. Today, most of Latin America, despite its many challenges and contradictions, is financially and politically stable. This session will focus on the compelling reasons why the U.S. and Israel cannot afford to lose this region. The session will be joined by leaders of the Jewish communities of Latin America.

SOLD OUT -- Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict
with AJC's Dr. Steven Bayme, Director of the William Petschek Contemporary Jewish Life Department/Dorothy and Julius Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations

This session will survey the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1948 to present day. It is designed to provide background information and understanding of the historical underpinnings of today's challenges. Throughout the years, this has proven to be on of the most popular and oversubscribed sessions at AJC's annual conference.

SOLD OUT -- Understanding the Arab World
with AJC's Jason Isaacson, Assistant Executive Director and Director of the Office of Government and International Affairs

From Tunisia to Egypt, the Arab world has risen in protest. After decades of autocratic rule, a young and booming population is demanding its voice be heard. This session will explore the powerful political, economic and social changes that led to recent upheavals in the Arab world and what the future holds for the region. For decades, AJC has traveled extensively in the region and cultivated relationships with Arab states that are virtually unheard of for a Jewish organization. Learn first hand from an AJC expert and veteran Jewish diplomat.

The World's Largest Democracy: Understanding India
with AJC's Jim Busis, Director of the Asia Pacific Institute

India is rapidly becoming a dynamic global power with important common interests and ties to both the U.S. and Israel, despite continuing different viewpoints on many key issues. Every aspect of India relates to American and Jewish concerns: a close neighbor of Pakistan and Afghanistan that suffers from Islamist terrorism, the world's most diverse society with human rights issues as well as potential for outreach, an economic powerhouse, and home to an ancient Jewish community. This session will focus on understanding India and how to productively engage with it from an AJC perspective. Priya Tandon, AJC's India Representative, and Nissim Reuben, AJC's Program Officer for Indian-American Relations, will join the session.

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century
with AJC's Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs

Anti-Semitism, once thought to be mostly eradicated, has intensified in recent years in new guises and movements. This session will provide information on the latest face of anti-Semitism, how one can identify it and where it is found. The session will equip the participant with tools necessary for fighting a new iteration of an old scourge.

Engaging Africa as an American Jewish Advocacy Organization
with AJC's Eliseo Neuman, Director of the Africa Institute

With the exception South Africa, there are few, if any, established Jewish communities of significant size, historical tradition, or active representation within the 47 sub-Saharan countries. As a result, Jews and Israel are mostly unknown in those countries, whose foreign policy tends to be dominated by domestic and regional challenges, with Jewish and Middle Eastern issues in the distant background. With this environment in mind, AJC seeks to engage Africa and expand the sphere of global Jewish advocacy. This session will explore how American Jews and Israel can advance their agenda in Africa, and why we should all be committed to a shared future.

Jewish Approaches to Other Faiths
with AJC's Rabbi David Rosen, Director of the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Institute for International and Interreligious Understanding

This study session will explore Jewish sources that deal with other faith groups. The session will provide information on Jewish literary traditions that can later be utilized when engaging in interfaith dialogue and bridge-building.

Lawfare: What is it and what can we do about it?
with AJC's Marc Stern, Associate General Counsel

The term "lawfare" describes the growing use of international law claims as a tool of war. Often, the international claims are factually wrong and only serve to gain a moral advantage over an opponent in the realm of international opinion. Lawfare is increasingly being used against Israel and Israel's representatives -- restricting Israeli politicians from travelling abroad and tarnishing Israel's international image. This session will provide background information and tools in fighting this trend.

Achieving Energy Security: National and Regional Approaches
with AJC's Richard Foltin, Director of National and Legislative Affairs and Lee C. Shapiro, Regional Director-Cleveland

This session will focus on how to effectively conduct advocacy for energy security on both the national and regional levels. The session will include information on AJC's on-going advocacy campaigns and provide the participant with effective tools in achieving energy security.

Diplomatic Outreach: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
with AJC's Dan Elbaum, Regional Director-Chicago

Learn how to perform statecraft without leaving your state. This session will focus on AJC's global advocacy efforts and give participants the tools to go back to their cities and interact with regional diplomats and foreign officials. Participants will learn not only how to most effectively articulate important arguments to diplomatic officials, but also how to sense signals, statements or non-statements that may indicate a shift in a nation's policies.

MABAL: A Conversation with IDF Officers
Have you ever wanted to meet two IDF officers? Learn first-hand about the challenges facing IDF soldiers.

Branding Israel: A Conversation with Ido Aharoni
Join Israel's Consul General in New York for an important training session on best methods in branding Israel's image for the 21st century. The session will focus on the challenge and opportunities of improving Israel’s brand. Ido Aharoni served as the head of the Foreign Ministry’s brand management team and has devoted many years to studying how Israel is perceived in the world. Aharoni will share his experience and insights.