May 31, 2017 — New York, New York
A stellar array of world leaders will headline the AJC Global Forum 2017, which will take place June 4-6, in Washington, D.C.
Addressing the opening plenary session on Sunday will be U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano.
On Monday morning, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration Sebastian Kurz will speak.
Tuesday morning, during the 48-hour conference’s closing session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in conversation with five young AJC leaders, will address the Global Forum via video.
The AJC Global Forum is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries around the world. The full program is available at www.ajc.org/globalforum.
“For Jewish advocates who join us in Washington from across the U.S. and around the world, as well as those who will watch the many sessions that are live streamed, our annual Global Forum is an inspiring, thought-provoking, and energizing experience,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “There is no other gathering in the Jewish world quite like it.”
The World Leaders Plenary on Monday evening will feature Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades; Romanian President Klaus Iohannis; Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan; Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan; and Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kentaro Sonoura, who will deliver a message from Prime Minister Abe.
Kicking off the AJC Global Forum on Sunday will be a discussion on Jewish perspectives regarding global trends by American political analyst Bill Kristol, French author and intellectual Bernard Henry-Lévy, and Israeli MK and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni.
Scheduled to speak on Monday, among others, will be U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and on Tuesday Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro and Katherina von Schnurbein, the European Commission’s coordinator on combatting antisemitism.
For the eighth annual AJC Global Forum “Great Debate,” Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute, who served as a senior director in the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, and Ambassador Wendy Sherman of the Albright Stonebridge Group, who served as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Obama Administration, will tackle the issue of whether "America First" is advancing or compromising U.S. interests abroad.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which began on June 5, 1967, a panel of top Israeli journalists – Barak Ravid of Haaretz; Ilana Dayan of Israel TV Channel 2; Sivan RahavMeir, a TV and print journalist; and Amit Segal of Israel TV Channel 2 – will discuss the repercussions on Israel and the region of that conflict and efforts to achieve peace.
Four prestigious AJC awards will be presented during the Global Forum:
- The AJC Unity Award will be presented on Sunday to three religious leaders -- Rabbi Dov Hayun, Imam Sharif Ode Mohammed Amir, and Maronite Priest Father Yousef Yakoub -- who mobilized their communities in Haifa, Israel, to respond to the devastating impact of large-scale fires in November 2016, which included the rebuilding of a damaged synagogue.
- On Monday at the World Leaders Plenary, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis will receive AJC’s Light Unto the Nations Award, which has previously been given to, among others, U.S. President Bill Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
- Bruce Willison, Jr., an American who rescued Lea Kovensky, a survivor of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, will receive AJC’s Moral Courage Award on Monday at the World Leaders Plenary session.
- Ariela Rivkin of the University of Wisconsin and Robbie Young of the UK National Union of Students will receive AJC’s Campus Courage Award on Sunday for their efforts in support of Israel and against BDS.
Other Highlights of Global Forum 2017 on Monday include:
- Russia’s role in today’s world order will be addressed by Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus, NYU and Princeton: Julia Ioffe, Staff Writer, The Atlantic; and, Andrew Weiss, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- How European countries are dealing with the interrelated issues of immigration, integration, and identity will be explored by Gilles Kepel, a leading French scholar of Islam, Hanif Bali, an Iranian-born member of the Swedish Parliament, and Deidre Berger, Director of AJC Berlin.
- Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) members Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), and Raheemah Abdelaleem, Chair of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, will discuss the council's efforts in joint advocacy on domestic policy issues.
- Managing the U.S.-Israel relationship with a new president and a polarized American public will be assessed by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer in conversation with AJC CEO David Harris.
Highlights on Tuesday include:
- European officials and Jewish leaders assess the rise in antisemitism. Panelists are Hanif Bali, Member of the Swedish Parliament; Gillian Merron, Chief Executive, Board of Deputies of British Jews; Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Director, AJC Europe; and Katharina von Schnurbein, Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, European Commission.
- In an age of rising radicalism, the question of religion as a force of good or evil will be explored by Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs; Professor Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Ibn Khaldun Center of Islamic Studies at American University and former Pakistani High Commissioner; Dr. Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; and Religion News Service Editor, Jerome Socolovsky.
In addition, a special highlight each year for AJC Global Forum attendees is the opportunity to engage with top officials directly in a series of private advocacy in action dinners. This year there are 39 such dinners with ambassadors from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Among those participating in this year’s AJC Global Forum will be more than 200 student leaders from campuses across the U.S., and from the European Union of Jewish Students and World Union of Jewish Students.
Hundreds of members of ACCESS, AJC’s young leadership program, will convene for a series of thought-provoking sessions before the Global Forum opening session.
Moreover, AJC Global Forum attendees will participate in informational and training sessions before leaving the hotel on Tuesday afternoon for over 200 advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill.
AJC, founded in 1906 and with headquarters in New York, maintains 22 regional offices across the United States, 10 overseas posts, and 34 international associations.