- Written by Silvia G. Golan
The delegation began on November 14th with a visit to the Treasures collection of the British Library, where ancient religious texts, Shakespeare, and the Magna Carta are all on display. The students then went to Bentham House, where they had an engaging discussion on public international law, and the laws of war, with Professor Kimberley Trapp. The delegation then met with several Middle East experts at Chatham House for a discussion about peacebuilding, and the “Israel and Palestine: Beyond the Stalemate” project. Afterwards there was a two hour workshop at Europe House, which focused on Brexit. There the delegation also met with youth from different countries through the Asfar organization. Finally, the day concluded with a briefing at the Behavioral Insights Team, where the students learned about behavioral economics, and its impact on policy-making.
On Friday the delegation was photographed Fran Monks as part of the Hug Project. Then the delegation joined the Muslim Educational Center of Oxford for Juma’a prayers, where they heard the khutba from Dr Taj Hargey and had a lively discussion on contemporary Islam. That evening the delegation joined the Jewish community at the University of Oxford for shabbat dinner.
From Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon the students engaged in their respective committees, representing a range of countries such as Australia, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. At the closing ceremony on Sunday Teba Massalha (UAE) received a Best Position Paper award in OPEC, while Eliran Ben Yair (China) received an Honorable Mention award in CSW.
Back in London the delegation met with peacebuilding experts at Conciliation Resources, and visited the Embassy of Ecuador, where they met Ambassador Jaime Marchan-Romero, and the Embassy of Kosovo, where they met Counselor Imer Berisha. They also visited one of the largest Hindu temples outside of India, and heard a piano concert by Rachel Starritt at the St. Martin in the Fields church. The delegation also received a private tour of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, including a visit to the Agha Khan Centre Gallery, featuring work by contemporary Egyptian artist Bahia Shehab. The delegation was lucky to be guided by curator Esen Kaya, and joined by academic and musician Dr. Vanessa Paloma. Kaya told Diplomacy that she was very interested in “hearing about the students debate programme and the passionate messages they had conveyed in Oxford. They all liked our building, the Islamic gardens and were amused with reading some Arabic text within specific art works and gardens around the building.” She added that it was interesting to see the responses of young leaders to topical contemporary culture as well as traditional religious texts.
The delegation also found time to visit the National Gallery, the Museum of Natural History, and the British Museum, featuring the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies and other treasures. They finished the delegation by meeting with Jaron Soh to learn about his efforts to help refugees and displaced persons support themselves using traditional handcrafts, contemporary technology, and global economics.
Lareen Habashi from Iksal High School told Diplomacy that this was “a special experience that I did not have before. We discussed different topics concerning the whole world, we met people from different ages, different positions and fields from several countries around the world.”
Shahaf Navon, from Ben Gurion Comprehensive school in Petah Tiqva, added that the delegation “helped us to personally evolve and not only to get to know the other side but to befriend them, (and the) meetings with different NGO was a wonderful experience.
Maya Qawasmi from Al Qassemi high school in Baqa added “we had an amazing week, visiting different places and meeting with people who gave us so much information about several subjects. We had a fun time in the museums, and finally three incredible days in Oxford conference.”
The upcoming Debate for Peace delegations will be to Yale MUN and Johns Hopkins MUN in the US.
Photo Credit: Fran Monks and Debate for Peace
- Written by Silvia G. Golan
An Israeli patent-protected invention, registered in 58 countries, including the USA. Bakbuk – An Ingenious Simple & Effective Recycling Solution for plastic beverage bottles around the globe
reduces the plastic bottle's volume by 80%
The global plastic bottles crisis is getting worse by the minute. 480 billion plastic bottles are sold every year, a number that is steadily growing, and according to recent studies is expected to reach 583 billion by 2021.
As of today, Coca Cola alone is responsible for the manufacturing of 120 billion bottles a year. Even more alarming is that less than 14% of these plastic bottles get recycled.
A report by the Ellen McArthur Foundation predicts that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish. This disaster has become the major concern of governments around the world, as exemplified by the deposit fee schemes recently implemented worldwide. Over 130 million people in various European countries benefit from recycling deposit schemes. In Norway, for example, the deposit is about 25 cents euros.
Maurice Amsellem, a French-Israeli businessman and CEO of ECOAMS PLANET, a company that develops products to address sustainability and environmental issues, recently launched Bakbuk - a simple and efficient recycling solution for plastic bottles, a world-class patent registered in 58 countries, including the USA.
At the heart of this ingenious invention is an elastic band that fits on the plastic beverage bottle and helps to optimally shrink it, resulting in an 80% reduction of the beverage bottles' volume.
The idea is that purchasing a plastic beverage bottle equipped with this elastic band allows consumers to take part in the recycling effort by easily shrinking the bottle and reducing its volume by 80%. This helps save significant storage space and in turn reduces by a factor of 5 the frequency of visits to the nearest recycling center.
The unique features of the elastic rubber band at the heart of the patent are that it can be applied to all PET bottles, it is tailor-made for the food industry, it is recyclable and meets all the necessary standards.
According to Maurice Amsellem:"Bakbuk revolutionizes the recycling process at every level: for the consumer - it is simple to use and efficient, it reduces the number of trips to the recycling bin by 5 times, and provides a tremendous ecological solution concerning the catastrophic global plastic pollution, worldwide. In addition, for the recycling company - it reduces the number of trips to the recycling plants, diminishes transportation and compacting costs and increases overall efficiency and productivity. And lastly, for the beverage manufacturers - it provides a solution for sustainable development goals, a "circular economy" solution, and a solution relevant to the consumers."
This is a product that had already received the approval of consumer around the world.
Market research was conducted by leading research companies in the world including:
Ipsos, Nielsen and Geocartography, among consumers in the United States, Germany, Japan and Israel.
To the question How important do you feel this invention is? The vast majority of the respondents - 78% of the respondents in Israel, 91% of the respondents in the United States, 63% of the respondents in Germany and 74% of the respondents in Japan – answered that this invention is Very Important.
A new study conducted by KANTAR research company in Norway, which results were received this week, indicates that in that country, which is a global leader when it comes to the recycling of plastic bottles, where the percentage of bottles' recycling is 97%, the respondents found the patent to be very important due to the fact that it greatly facilitates the transfer of the plastic bottles to the collection point, on their path to the recycling plant.
The purpose of this new invention is to help every player in the recycling circuit, including the beverage manufacturers who are under enormous pressure with regards to the issue of the recycling of plastic bottles, and a testimony to that is Coca-Cola's advertising campaign in the summer of 2019, which conveyed the following message:
'Don't buy Coca-Cola if you don't help us recycle!'
A message reflecting the grave absence of an immediate solution.
The image positioning of the major beverage manufacturers is in bad shape these days.
According to an audit conducted by Break Free From Plastic which recently presented
Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo as the world's leading plastic pollutants.
Maurice Amsellem notes: "The giant corporations, who are constantly under the scrutiny of the global media regarding the issue of providing relevant recycling solutions, promise to make every endeavor to provide a solution to the plastic bottles pollution problem, a solution that might be effective decades from now, but no effective action is being taken today."
He adds: "I believe that our company's smart, simple and efficient recycling solution can immediately address the recycling problems of the major beverage companies and thus help solve the environmental pollution problem that is exacerbating the most severe ecological calamity humanity has ever seen."
Visit the company's website for more information about Bakbuk:
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
More pics at FB Israel Diplo
- Written by Steven Aiello
A Debate for Peace delegation participated in the Model UN of Malmo for the first time in November 2019. Six students, from four cities around Israel and representing three religions, traveled to Malmo for the MUN conference, interfaith and intercultural programming in Malmo, and a day of briefings and study sessions in Stockholm.
The students represented Pakistan and Sweden in a variety of committees, dealing with topics ranging from women’s empowerment to combating narcotics cultivation, to the conflict in the Kashmir region. They spent several days debating and negotiating with students from dozens of ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds at MUN of Malmo, hosted by the Malmö Borgarskola.
During the conference, the delegation joined several local interfaith initiatives as well, including a discussion on Promoting pluralism and tolerance in a democracy, with speakers from the Buddhist, Christian, Druze, Jewish, and Muslim communities, hosted by the Mahmood Ahmadiyya mosque in Malmo; a text-based discussion about “The Chosen People” through the Jewish-Muslim Amanah project, and an interfaith shabbat dinner with Christian, Druze, Jewish, and Muslim participants. The delegation also participated in an interreligious dialogue workshop run by the religious social-democrats in Skane-Blekinge.
Following the conference, the delegation traveled to Stockholm. There they met with John Robbins at the US Embassy in Stockholm; Ambassador Sotos A. Liassides at the Embassy of Cyprus; Anna Henderson Young at the Foreign Ministry of Sweden; Otto Widmark at the Olof Palme International Center for a discussion on international aid and development, and Dr. Mark Klamberg, professor of international law at Stockholm University, to learn about international humanitarian, human rights, and criminal law.
Yuval Cohen participated in the delegation from Kadima High School, and he told Diplomacy that this was “A great experience that I will never forget”, which “exposed me to different cultures and people all around the globe...an experience that every teen should experience!” Yara Katish, from Maghar High School,called the delegation a “once in a lifetime opportunity with unforgettable memories”, adding that the most interesting part of the trip for her was meeting different people in different positions in the political and educational fields, and “hearing advice and important things that will help us in our near/far future.”
Debate for Peace Director Steven Aiello expressed special gratitude to the Embassy of Sweden in Tel Aviv to the MUNOM organizers and hosts, to Imam Riwan Ahmad Afzal, and to Adrian Kaba and Peter Vig from the Interreligious Dialogue workshop, for their assistance in the delegation.
Photo Credit :MUNOM and Debate for Peace
- Written by Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson
FM Katz: The MFA has actively worked for a long period of time to promote the renewal of the relationship. The departure of President Morales and his replacement by a government friendly to Israel allows the fruition of the process.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz:
“I welcome the announcement of the government of Bolivia regarding its intent to re-establish diplomatic relations with the state of Israel. This will contribute to the strengthening of the State of Israel’s foreign relations and its standing in the world.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has actively worked for a long period of time to promote the renewal of the relationship, also with the help of the Brazilian president and minister of foreign affairs, with whom I recently spoke on the subject at the UN Conference in New York.
“The departure of President Morales, who was hostile to Israel, and his replacement by a government friendly to Israel, allow the fruition of the process.”
Photo Silvia Golan
- Written by Steven Aiello
Kufr Qassem Comprehensive School hosted the first ever Model UN conference in the city’s history on Thursday, November 7, with 150 students from schools all over Israel competing. The conference theme was “Society”, and committees dealt with the challenges of racism, violence against women, minority languages, and the unrecognized Bedouin villages.
The students arrived in the morning to a red carpet flanked with flags of UN member states, balloons, and of course, refreshments. It was a doubly festive day, as the school was marking Mawlid--the birthday of Muhammad, as well as the MUN. For many of the Jewish students this was their first visit to an Arab school, and thus an especially memorable learning experience. In fact, for most students this was their very first MUN.
Reaching resolutions in the different committees proved quite challenging, with intense debates, and some very close votes. But by the end of the day each committee had produced well thought out draft resolutions that they could then vote upon.
At the end of a long day of learning, the delegates filed into the sports hall for the closing ceremony. After some spontaneous dancing, the delegates were called to order. Mr. Abed Frij, Qassem MUN director, welcomed the students and guests, and thanked those who had helped to make the day such a success, and in particular, the students. Then Waseem, one of the Kufr Qassem students, gave an inspiring speech about youth leadership, expressing his own pride at what he had witnessed.
Finally, it was time for the awards. In the UNGA committee, Roy Amsalem and Jawan Shalata (received Outstanding Delegate awards, and Moshe Rothstein and Tamir Shnaer won Best Delegates. In the UN Women committee, it was Jana Sayed Ahmed and Eyal Bala who won Outstanding Delegate, while Niv Blitz and Deyar Abu Rahal were the Best Delegates. In UNESCO, which dealt with endangered languages, Hani Altoree and Teba Massalha were Outstanding Delegates, while Lishy Hason and Tamir Hurwitz were recognized as Best Delegates. Finally, in the advanced Knesset committee, Amit Ram and Eisa Hammodi were Outstanding delegates, while Eliran Ben Yair and Shahd Hammodi were the Best Delegates.
All in all it was a successful day of conflict resolution, problem-solving, and intercultural learning for everyone involved. Rachell Rothstein, from Modi’in, explained that “It was very interesting to discuss the issue of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev. It was also amazing to work with each other in the committee and better understand both sides of the issue and find a resolution which passed. Mr. Frij, the conference director, told Diplomacy “QassemMUN was the first big English event in Kfar Qassem. [An MUN conference like this] does not happen very often and we are proud that we managed to pull it off with the help of Steven. We look forward to always be a part of this wonderful team that works hard to bring people together Arabs and Jews. In addition, our students experienced what does it feel to attend a real conference with many Native speakers.”
The conference was part of the Debate for Peace activities.
The next MUN conference in Israel will be ATIDMUN on November 20-21.
See more, including the national MUN schedule, on DebateforPeace.org