International Affairs and Advocacy Week
New York, 10-14 November 2003
Church Center at the UN
777 UN Plaza

Media contact in New York: Jeffrey Penn, Mobile +1 646 265 0405

Public Seminars - Agenda
See biodata on speakers below

Monday, November 10 (1.00-3.00 pm)
“Human Rights – 10 years after Vienna”

Keynote speeches:

  • Mr. Bertrand Ramcharan, Acting High Commissioner on Human Rights, Geneva.
  • Mr. Theo Van Boven, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
  • Response:

  • Ms Mia Adjali, Executive Secretary for Global Concerns, Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and main NGO UN Representative for the General Board.
  • Parvina Nadjibulla, Resources Center Specialist, Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and alternate NGO UN Representative for the General Board.
  • Celebration of "60 years of church advocacy at the UN"
    Chapel at the Church Centre

    Tuesday, November 11 (1.00-3.00 pm)
    “Peace and International Law in Israel and Palestine”


  • MK Avraam Burg, Member of the Israeli Knesset, Labour Party

  • Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University/University of California at Santa Barbara
  • Response:

  • H. G. Bishop Riah abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

    Wednesday, November 12 (1.00-3.00 pm)
    “Peace in Sudan”

  • Dr. Francis Deng,
  • Director, Centre for Displacement Studies, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University
  • Rev. Dr Haruun Ruun,
  • Executive Director of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC)
  • Mr. Stein Villumstad
  • , Norwegian Church Aid’s (NCA) regional representative for Eastern Africa, and chair of Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS)

    Thursday, November 13 (1.00-3.00 pm)
    “The Responsibility to Protect”

  • Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, Co-Chairman of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty

  • Rev Dr. Konrad Raiser, WCC General Secretary

  • Biodata on speakers

    Mia Adjali (Algeria) works as UN representative of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and is a staff member of the Women’s Division in the United Methodist Church Office for the UN (UMCOUN). She has chaired the Program Ministry on International Justice and Human Rights of Church World Service and Mission (CWSW) and represents that body on the Executive Board of the National Council of Churches. She has formerly chaired the UNA-USA Council of Organizations, served as Co-Chair of the Churches Human Rights Program, and is currently the Chair of the Partnership with Korean Women’s Committee of CWSW-NCCC. In addition, Adjali has led delegations to the UN Mid-Decade Conference on Women (Copenhagen, 1980), the End of Decade Conference (Nairobi, 1985), and the UN World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995).

    Avraham Burg (Israel), former lieutenant and current member of the Sixteenth Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, was born in Jerusalem in 1955. From 1985 until his election to the Twelfth Knesset in 1988, he served Prime Minister Shimon Peres as advisor on Diaspora Affairs. During the Twelfth Kenneset, Burg was a member of the Finance, the State Control, and the Foreign Affairs & Defense Committees. He was re-elected to the Thirteenth Knesset in 1992 as the chairman of the Education and Culture Committee and member of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women. He resigned from the Knesset in 1995 to accept the post of Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization. His work there resulted in a reorganization of the role of National Institutions leading to a successful settlement with Swiss banks and steps towards the restitution of Jewish property. He resigned from this position in 1999, and in July of that year, was elected Speaker of the Fifteenth Knesset. Burg was re-elected to the Sixteenth Knesset in 2003, where he served as a member of the Science and Technology Committee until taking up his current position. Burg studied African Studies at Hebrew University, Industrial Design at the Betzalel Academy and was both a student and a lecturer at the Israeli Government School of Tourism. He speaks Hebrew, English and French.
    These two recent articles by Burg are available on the web:
    "A failed Israeli society is collapsing", IHT 06.09.03
    "An open letter to my Palestinian friends", IHT 04.10.03

    Dr Francis Mading Deng (Sudan) has served as representative of the United Nations secretary-general on Internally Displaced Persons since 1992. He held the title of distinguished professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York before taking a position as research professor of International Politics, Law and Society at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2002. He is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Displacement Studies, and a co-founder of the Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement at the Brookings Institution. Deng has served as human rights officer in the UN Secretariat, ambassador to Canada, the Scandinavian countries and the US, and as minister of state for Foreign Affairs. He holds an LL.B. from Khartoum University and an LL.M. and J.S.D. from Yale University. He has been visiting scholar and then senior research associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a distinguished fellow of the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund, one of the first Jennings Randolph distinguished fellows at the US Institute of Peace, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His published works include A Strategic Vision for Africa: The Kampala Movement (The Brookings Institution, 2002) and Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement (The Brookings Institution, 1998).

    Richard Falk (United States), after having retired as an Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University (US), is currently a Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (US). He has served on the Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestine Territories that was appointed by the United Nations (2001) and the Independent International Commission on Kosovo (1999-2000). Falk also serves as the Chair of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Board of Directors, honorary Vice President of the American Society of International Law, and acted as counsel to Ethiopia and Liberia in the Southwest Africa Case before the International Court of Justice. Falk is a member of the editorial board of The Nation, and a founding member of both the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the World Order Models Project (WOMP). He received his Bachelor of Science from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Juridical Science (JDS) from Harvard University. His published work includes The Great Terror War (Olive Branch Press, 2002), and Human Rights Horizons: The Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World (routledge, 2000).

    Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia (Kenya), the General Secretary-elect of the World Council of Churches, currently fills the post of WCC Special Representative for Africa and will begin his new role in January 2004. He served as WCC Executive Secretary for Urban Rural Mission before returning to Kenya in 1984 to work with the National Council of Churches in Kenya (NCCK) first as Director of Church Development Activities and later as General Secretary. Kobia returned to Geneva in 1993 as Executive Director of the WCC Justice, Peace and Creation team, and then as director of the WCC Cluster on Issues and Themes. In addition to his work at the WCC, Kobia helped reorganize the Zimbabwe Christian Council following the country’s independence (1980-81), chaired the Frontier Internship in Mission (FIM) International Coordination Committee (1981-85), helped found the Nairobi Peace Group and the Fellowship of Councils of Churches in Eastern and Souther Africa (FOCCESA) (1987), chaired peace talks for Sudan (1991) and chaired Kenya’s National Election Monitoring Unit (1992). Kobia holds degrees in Theology and Urban Ministry from St Paul-s United Theological College (Kenya) and Mc Cormick Theological Seminary (USA), respectively, received a Masters degree in City Planning at MIT, a Doctorate of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and has published two books focusing on Africa.

    Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser (Germany), who will retire at the end of this year, currently fills the post of general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Raiser joined the WCC staff in 1969 as study secretary in the Commission on Faith and Order, and was appointed WCC deputy general secretary in 1973; beginning 1979 he took on the additional post of staff moderator of the Unit on Justice and Service. He returned to Germany in 1983 as a professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenics at the Protestant Theological Faculty of the University of Ruhr in Bochum and, at the same time, served as director of the faculty’s Ecumenical Institute. Raiser has also served on the presidium of the German Protestant Kirchentag, chaired the editorial board of the quarterly Ökumenische Rundschau, and been an adviser and member of the drafting committees at the European Ecumenical Assembly in Basel, Switzerland (1989) and the WCC's World Convocation on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation in Seoul, Korea (1990). Raiser is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). He studied at the theological school in Bethel, the universities of Heidelberg and Zürich, and holds a Doctorate of Theology from the Theological Faculty of Tübingen. His published works include To Be the Church - Challenges and Hopes for a New Millennium (WCC, 1997) and Wir stehen noch am Anfang - Ökumene in einer veränderten Welt (WCC, 1994).

    Bertrand Ramcharan, acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has served as the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and Assistant Secretary-General since 1998. He holds a Doctorate in international law from the London School of Economics and Political Science as well as the prestigious Diploma in International Law of The Hague Academy of International Law. His service to the UN over the past three decades includes posts as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Director of the Office of the SRSG in UNPROFOR, and Director in the UN Political Department dealing with African conflicts. Ramcharan also served as Director of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia and Political Adviser to the peace negotiators in the Yugoslav conflict, and has had more recent involvement in conflict issues in Cote d'Ivoire, Central Asia and Rwanda. In addition, Ramcharan has been a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists and also a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

    Riah Abu El-Assal is bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. He was born in Nazareth, where he served as rector of Christ Church for 27 years. At the basis of his ministry is his calling to justice and peace for all people and the setting at liberty of the oppressed, as those themes are reflected in our Lord’s sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth. He feels that in his own land, he has become a minority four times, being an Arab, Palestinian, Christian and Anglican living in Israel. The bishop is a founding member of the Nazareth Democratic Front, of the Committee for Defence of Arab Land, and of the Progressive Movement in Nazareth. He studied at the American University of Beirut and the Near East School of Theology, and is a Doctor in Divinity, Honoris Causa of the Virginia Theological Seminary.

    Dr Haruun Ruun (Sudan), a Reformed Church of America (RCA) World Mission program associate, currently serves as executive director of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC). He began as an evangelist and lay preacher of the Sudan Interior Church (SIC), where he later served as president and then general secretary. Ruun has been a key liaison between church, government and international agencies, becoming involved in health, education and water problem issues. He has served as chaplain-in-residence for South Carolina’s Department of Mental Health, where he was certified as a pastoral educator at the department’s Academy for Pastoral Education. Ruun studied Christian communications at Daystar International Institute in Kenya. He holds a BA in Bible from Columbia Bible College (USA), an MA in Education, and a D.Min. from Columbia Biblical Seminary.

    Theo Van Boven (the Netherlands), professor of International Law at the Universities of Maastricht and Leiden, the Netherlands, and former moderator of the Commission of Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) currently serves as the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture. He has a long career of human rights work, including his service as Director of the UN Division of Human Rights (1977-1982) and Special Rapporteur on the Right to Reparation to Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights (1986-1991). Van Boven has also served as a member of the UN Sub-Commission of the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (1975-1977 and 1987-1991), and in 1991 was elected to the International Commission of Jurists where he served as Vice-President (1998-2001). Van Boven received a Master of Comparative Law from the University of Dallas, United States (1960) and a Doctorate of Law from Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Netherlands (1967). His honors include the Human Rights Price of the International Service for Human Rights (1996), the Right to Livelihood Honorary Award (1985) and the Louise Weiss Prize (1982).

    Stein Villumstad (Norway) is Norwegian Church Aid’s (NCA) regional representative for Eastern Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is commissioner of CCIA and co-opted by the World Council of Churches as chair of Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan (CEAS). Villumstad has a long history of work with NCA, beginning as resident representative in Sudan (1986-1990) and then as emergency director (1992-1999). During his period as director, he was involved in the creation of Action by Churches Together (ACT) and also served as its co-moderator until 1999. He then served as the assistant to the NCA general secretary until 2001. More recently, Villumstad has been a member of the executive committee of the Church of Norway Committee on International Affairs (1998-2002), and the chair of Norwegian Human Rights Fund (2000-2001). He was involved in the establishment of Norwegian Ethical Trade Initiative, and served as the first chair of its Board of Directors (2000).