Advocacy Conference - 2009

June 7-9 Conference: Christian Advocates Come to DC to Build Support for Middle East Peacemaking

Click here to view video of the 2009 Advocacy Conference on CMEP TV!

"President Obama’s Administration has strongly engaged all parties in the Middle East and has embraced the importance for American leadership to back peace efforts to reach a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.  Congress needs to support the Obama Administration’s diplomatic efforts to enable the peace agenda to move forward," said Warren Clark, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

That was the message in Washington, DC at CMEP's annual advocacy conference with the theme, "Israeli-Palestinian Peace:  Hope for Things Unseen." CMEP represents a coalition of 22 U.S. national church and church- related organizations including Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant denominations. Church members and clergy from around the country will hear from high level Christian leaders, policy experts and government officials during two days of meetings, culminating in a Congressional Prayer Breakfast for Peace in the Holy Land on June 9 at the start of a day of advocacy visits with Congressional Representatives, Senators and their staffs.

"We are pleased to host this important gathering," Clark said. "This is a crucial time for peacemaking in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Next week CMEP advocates will let their elected officials know that American Christians want them to work vigorously towards an agreement for peace between Israel and the Palestinians that is supported by both Israeli and Palestinian governments and a majority of people on both sides of the conflict."

Major speakers at the conference will include: The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Episcopal Bishop of Maryland; Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, Shibley Telhami, University of Maryland and The Brookings Institution; Daniel Levy, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation; Amjad Attalah, Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation; and Hagit Ofran, Director of the Peace Now Settlement Watch Team.  Workshops will cover a range of topics such as on the ground updates with Rev. Mark Brown of the Lutheran World Federation and LeAnn Hager of Catholic Relief Services; Human Rights with Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights; Palestinian Christians with Gregory Khalil, formerly of the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit; and Negotiations Can Succeed, with Dr. William Zartman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Organization and Conflict Resolution at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

The Congressional Prayer Breakfast will feature greetings from Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), a message from Bishop Richard Graham, Washington Diocese, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and prayers and reflections from Rev. Daniel Coughlin, U.S. House of Representatives Chaplain, and Archbishop Vicken Aykayzian, Armenian Orthodox Church of America.