On December 6-8, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings is hosting its 10th annual Saban Forum, titled “Power Shifts: U.S.-Israel Relations in a Dynamic Middle East.” This year’s event features remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, all of which are being webcast.
The 2013 Forum is examining the political changes taking place across the Middle East, including the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran; and the deepening Syrian civil war and resulting humanitarian crisis. Forum speakers and participants discuss the implications of these events on U.S. interests in the region, U.S.-Israel relations and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
E.J. Dionne: The right-wing’s shellacking …. Tuesday’s results underscored the power of unions and populist politics, the danger to conservatives of social-issue extremism and the fact that 2010 was no mandate for right-wing policies. They also mean that if Republicans don’t back away from an agenda that makes middle-class, middle-of-the-road Americans deeply uncomfortable — and in some cases angry — they will lose the rather more important fight of 2012.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden attend a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 9, 2011. Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Melody Barnes, Director of Domestic Policy Council, are seen in the background. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama shakes hands with U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Leroy Arthur Petry of Santa Fe, N.M., after being introduced by Petry, who received the Medal of Honor, before speaking at the White House Forum on American Latino Heritage
Children from a nearby creche hold placards as they wait for U.S. first lady Michelle Obama before a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto, June 22
A choir sings before U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks at Regina Mundi Church and addresses the Young African Women Leaders Forum in a Soweto township
BBC: Introducing the first lady, Mr Mandela’s wife, Graca Michel, spoke of the symbolism of her visit.
“You may have been a toddler when the 1976 uprising took place. Now, in your adulthood, you come to us and you connect that history, and to say the triumphs of yesterday have to be the triumphs of today,” she said.
“Regina Mundi’s name in Latin means queen of the world. And we welcome you as a daughter of African heritage, and we can call you ‘the queen of our world.'”
Reuters: First Lady Michelle Obama urged young Africans to fight for women’s rights and battle the stigma of AIDS, using her husband’s “yes, we can” campaign slogan to motivate youth across the continent.
….her speech to a group of young women and men at Regina Mundi Church, which played a role in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, touched on race, discrimination, democracy, and development.
Obama drew on the leaders of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the civil rights movement in the United States as an example for the younger generation to follow.
“It is because of them that we are able to gather here today…It is because of them that I stand before you as First Lady of the United States of America,” she said to applause. “That is the legacy of the independence generation, the freedom generation. And all of you – the young people of this continent – you are the heirs of that blood, sweat, sacrifice, and love.”
Obama appeared visibly moved when the audience stood and sang an impromptu serenade as she approached the podium. Placing her hands over her heart, she thanked the crowd and seemed to choke back tears.
She spoke passionately about women’s rights, saying the young leaders should ensure that women were no longer “second class citizens” and that girls were educated in schools. “You can be the generation that stands up and says that violence against women in any form, in any place, including the home – especially the home – that isn’t just a women’s rights violation. It’s a human rights violation,” she said.
“You can be the generation that ends HIV/AIDS in our time, the generation that fights not just the disease, but the stigma of the disease, the generation that teaches the world that HIV is fully preventable and treatable, and should never be a source of shame,” she said to applause.
Mrs Obama, who was introduced by Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela’s wife, used her husband’s famous campaign slogan to urge the audience to follow through on the issues she addressed. “If anyone ever tells you that you shouldn’t or you can’t, then I want you to say with one voice – the voice of a generation – you tell them, ‘yes, we can.”
Michelle Obama embraces Baleka Mbete, who has promoted equality and development in South Africa, with Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela
Michelle Obama talks with Antoinette Sithole, sister of Hector Pieterson, before laying a wreath at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto. Hector Pietersen became a symbol of the apartheid struggle in South Africa when he was killed by police during the 1976 student uprising in Soweto. Read more about Hector here
….. at a ‘breakout’ session at the Young African Youth Leaders Forum in Johannesburg
…. with children after participating in a community service project at Vhuthilo Community Center in Soweto