June 20, 2011
Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, Binyanei HaUmma, will be packed this week for the Third Israeli Presidential Conference. Two years ago Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, convened leading figures in science, politics, technology, religion, economics, culture, philosophy and society—among them Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair—to talk about “tomorrow.” It’s become a regular event, and this year’s Conference begins Tuesday night.
The opening session brings back Jimmy Wales, along with psychologist/economist Dan Ariely and marketing expert Sir Martin Sorrell, to talk about “My Recipe for a Better Tomorrow.” They’ll share the stage with Sarah Silverman of Comedy Central fame and the singer/songwriter Shakira. Most events will be streamed live and will be available for later viewing on demand.
Sessions over the next two days will range from the philosophical to the practical. The politically engaged novelist Amos Oz and philosopher/journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy will talk with Simon Peres and Tony Blair about justice and moral considerations in international relations. JStreet’s Jeremy Ben-Ami and outgoing Reform leader Eric Yoffie join French and Israeli panelists in a discussion of criticism and loyalty in Israel-Diaspora Relations. Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents, the Palestine-Israel Journal’s Ziad Abu Zayyad, and three Israelis are to offer their visions of Jerusalem.
I’ll be blogging from Jerusalem throughout the Conference. Stay tuned!