Friday, May 16, 2014

ATFP/UNRWA Briefing Monday, May 19 2014 The Future of Gaza: Trajectories, Trends, Challenges and Opportunities ... First Amendment Room, National Press Club Washington, DC

The Future of Gaza: Trajectories, Trends, Challenges and Opportunities

Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza
Mara Rudman, former Obama and Clinton administration national security official, Quorum Strategies, LLC

Ghaith Al-Omari, ATFP (moderator)

Monday, May 19
Event at 2:30-4:00 PM

First Amendment Room, National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

With so many aspects of its future in play, what lies ahead for the Gaza Strip and its nearly 2 million Palestinian residents? This joint briefing by the American Task Force on Palestine (A TFP) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will examine the most pressing questions facing Gaza and its residents in both their immediate and medium-term contexts. The humanitarian and economic outlook seems grim, as indicated by the recent UN Country Team report “Gaza 2020.” The report predicts that, without changes in the current outlook, over the next 15 years, residents of Gaza will lose access to potable water, and access to food, shelter, and sanitary living conditions will be insufficient. What can be done to improve the humanitarian and economic forecast for Palestinians in Gaza? And what does the evolving political scene portend for the territory? Can the recent Hamas-Fatah agreement offer any prospects for improvement, or will it worsen the situation? What is Egypt's role in helping to shape Gaza's future? What are Israel’s obligations? Can any of these factors lead to a lifting or easing of the flow of goods, the freedom of movement, and the overall security and opportunity for all? This ATFP/UNRWA joint briefing will look at these questions and more in trying to assess what lies ahead.

Robert Turner is the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza and has over twenty years of experience in humanitarian and disaster response operations, including program management in conflict and immediate post-conflict environments around the globe. Having worked for the International Rescue Committee in Burundi, Kosovo and Macedonia, Mr. Turner has designed and managed multi-sectoral programs, including in shelter, water and sanitation, community development, health and camp management. Mr. Turner also has significant experience with the United Nations, specifically the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. In this capacity, he has been involved in planning and coordinating large-scale humanitarian and recovery operations, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Rwanda, as well as short-term missions in several other countries, including the tsunami response in Aceh. In Sudan, Mr. Turner was responsible for planning and coordinating operations related to the return and reintegration of some four million internally displaced persons. During his career with the UN, Mr. Turner also helped to establish the Joint Operation and Tasking Center to coordinate the use of military assets in response to the earthquake in Haiti. In past roles, he also undertook evaluations and research studies for the United Nations and the Australian Government; developed and implemented a training course for the International Federation of the Red Cross, and trained hundreds of international military officers in civil-military coordination.

Mara Rudman founded and runs Quorum Strategies, an international strategic consulting firm, based in Washington, D.C., providing services in operations and change management; issues, project and crisis management; and communications strategy.   She is also a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow with the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.  She recently taught a national security seminar at Dartmouth College.  Previously, she served as Assistant Administrator for the Middle East at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).   Prior to this appointment by President Obama, Rudman was a deputy envoy and chief of staff for the Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace at the State Department. She also served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary to the National Security Council under President Obama from January through May 2009.   In President Clinton’s administration, Rudman served at the National Security Council as Deputy Assistant the President for National Security Affairs and Chief of Staff for the National Security Council, among other positions.  In addition, she has been a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, focusing on national security issues.  Rudman also has worked as a vice president and general counsel for The Cohen Group, a Washington-based consultancy founded by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.   Earlier in her career, Ms. Rudman was chief counsel to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, working for Chairman and then Ranking Member Lee Hamilton (D-IN).   She is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College. 

Ghaith Al-Omari is Executive Director at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). Prior to that, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy -- especially vis-à-vis the United States and Israel -- and security. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999–2001). In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy.

May 19th, 2014 2:30 PM
The National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
First Amendment Room
Washington, DC, DC 20045
United States
Phone: 202-887-0177

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