The InterAction Council gathers in Manama, Bahrain to discuss pressing regional and world issues

Bahrain – Members of the InterAction Council begin arriving in Manama today for the Council’s 31st Annual Plenary Meeting, to be held from 9 to 11 May.
“The Middle East is experiencing a period of rapid change – some changes for the good and some changes that threaten to destabilize the entire region – making this a critical time for a group such as the InterAction Council to meet here,” said Thomas Axworthy, InterAction Council Secretary-General. “Our mandate is to look at some of the most pressing regional issues as they affect the global community and make recommendations to current world leaders and policy-makers on how the international community can best respond. We hope that through this meeting we can contribute to the global conversation on the very serious issues facing the Middle East and the world in a meaningful way.”
The two-day meeting will bring together nearly 20 former heads of state and government, leading academics and policy makers to deliberate four main themes: the present state of the world, the water-energy nexus, bridging the religious divide and nuclear non-proliferation. InterAction Council members expected to attend include H.E. Dr. Franz Vranitzky, former Chancellor of Austria and Council Co-Chair; the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada and Council Co-Chair; and Nobel Prize Laureate H.E. Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez, former President of Costa Rica. High-level experts include H.E. Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); H.E. Dr. Majid Al-Moneef, Secretary-General of Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Economic Council; The Most Hon. Lord Michael Lothian, Chairman of the Global Strategy Forum; and religious scholar and best-selling author Dr. Reza Aslan.

The opening ceremony on 9 May will feature a keynote speech by H.E. Dr. Abdel Salam Majali, former Prime Minister of Jordan, entitled, “Uprisings in the Arab World: The Reality Beyond the Failure of Politics and Policies.”
In its 31-year history, the InterAction Council has been at the forefront of many prominent issues, most notably the 1997 drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, a document that counterbalances the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the 2010 Hiroshima Declaration, a powerful plea for the abolishment of nuclear weapons; and 2012 report, The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue.
In addition to the roundtable deliberations, participants will visit some of the cultural treasures of Bahrain.

The InterAction Council holds its meetings in a different country every year and last met in the Middle East in May 2009 for its 27th Annual Plenary Meeting in Saudi Arabia.

About InterAction Council

Established in 1983, the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government is an international organization whose objective is to address long-term, global issues facing humankind. Co-Chaired by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister of Canada, 1993-2003) and Dr. Franz Vranitzky (Chancellor of Austria, 1986-1997), the Council’s membership is comprised of more than forty former heads of state who volunteer their time to develop proposals for action and submit them directly to national and international decision-makers.

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Download the Arabic release

For further information, please visit the InterAction Council website at or contact:
InterAction Council in Bahrain: Ms. Rana Shamoon, [email protected], or Mrs. Tanya Guy, [email protected] mobile + 973 3539 3014