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First Israeli-Arab to represent Israel as ambassador
to speak at U of C on challenges of multiculturalism

March 1, 2004

Ali Yahya, Israel’s former ambassador to Finland and a relentless promoter of coexistence in the Middle East, will speak at the University of Calgary on Tuesday, March 2, on Challenges of Multiculturalism: The Arab Minority in Israel. The talk will take place at 5 pm in Room 110 of the Professional Faculties Building.

Ambassador Yahya, an Israeli-Arab who was born in Israel, has had an extensive and impressive career. He was the Director–General of the language seminary, Ulpan Akiva, an international Hebrew and language and cultural centre from 1972-1995. In 1984 he became the first Israeli-Arab Ambassador and was posted to Finland. He is currently the Israeli government coordinator for special projects in Akaba-Eilat, an area between Jordan, Israel and Egypt.

Yahya has received several awards of distinction that recognize his accomplishments: in 1994 the United States Congress acknowledged his work in promoting peace through culture and language. He was also awarded the Knesset Speaker's Prize for Environmental Affairs in 1983, the Israel Prize in 1986 and the Histadrut Prize for Arab Jewish Co-existence in 1993.

His talk is sponsored by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs and the Israel Studies Program in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Media interested in arranging an interview with Ambassador Yahya can contact Hala Dehais in the Faculty of Social Sciences at (403) 220-5288. Yahya will be available for interviews on Tuesday between 10 am and 5 pm.

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