Seeds of Peace and Novartis Plan Swiss Summit
JERUSALEM | Seeds of Peace, a foundation, based in New York and Washington, DC, which creates coexistence programs for youth from regions of conflict, announced today that it will hold a Middle East Youth Summit from May 1 through May 7, 1998, in Villars, Switzerland.
The announcement was made at the American Consulate in Jerusalem in the presence of many of the Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian young adults who will participate in the summit.
The summit, supported by a grant from Novartis, will bring young people who have graduated from Seeds of Peace programs together to find new ways to help end the stalemated Middle East conflict. Leaders of the region will honor the efforts of these young people by delivering major addresses to the plenary sessions.
They include Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Minister Dr. Saeb Erekat, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and Leader of the Israeli Government Coalition in Parliament MK Meir Shetreet, and Egyptian Undersecretary and Political Adviser to the President Osama el-Baz, President Flavio Cotti of Switzerland and U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Vladimir Petrovsky will also attend. Senior officials of the Israeli Government have been invited. A special appearance will be given by United States First Lady Hillary Clinton via satellite from the White House.
“We are seizing this moment at a time when the Israeli-Palestinian talks are stymied to give the next generation of Arabs and Israelis a chance to have their voices heard. The young people gathered for this summit are willing to make the personal effort to make peace with one another and want a better future,” Seeds of Peace President and Founder John Wallach explained.
For Novartis, Alex Jetzer, a Member of the Board of Directors, a Member of the Executive Committee of Novartis and Head of International Coordination, will be present to welcome the young delegates.
“Novartis has a strong commitment to community relations programs all over the world and is proud to support this event. By supporting this summit, we look forward to helping children who live in communities of conflict to build bridges of understanding. World peace is essential for economic development and enhanced quality of life, which we as a global company are devoted to further,” Jetzer notes.
In recognition of Novartis’ support of the summit, the young people were designated as Seeds of Peace Novartis Scholars.
Since 1993, when its first class were honored guests at the historic White House signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, Seeds of Peace has been bringing teenagers from the Middle East, Bosnia and other trouble spots to its American summer camp and conflict resolution program.
Seeds of Peace, which this summer will inaugurate a program for young Greek and Turkish Cypriots, has intensified its impact with each passing year—annually increasing the number of Middle East participants from 50 to 170 and expanding the regional representation from two to nine nations. To date, more than 600 Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Moroccan, Tunisian, Qatari as well as Bosnian and Serbian teenagers have graduated from the program.
Novartis is a world leader in Life Sciences, with core business in Healthcare, Agribusiness and Nutrition. In 1997, Novartis group sales were 31.2 billion Swiss francs, of which 18.7 billion were in Healthcare, 8.3 billion in Agribusiness and 4.1 billion in Nutrition. The group annually invests more than 3.6 billion Swiss francs in research and development.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs about 87,000 people in more than 100 countries around the world.
CONTACT: Merril Springer of RuderFinn for Seeds of Peace