B’nai B’rith International leaders attending the Organization of American States (OAS) 40th General Assembly discussed several topics of great concern to the hemisphere with world leaders attending the event in Lima, Peru.
B’nai B’rith President Dennis W. Glick and Latin American Director Eduardo Kohn, along with various civil society representatives, met with OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza. Glick and Kohn also took part in a dialogue between civil society and the heads of delegations.
The 35 independent states of the Americas that comprise the OAS work together at this annual meeting on political and social issues. “These meetings are vital for the promotion of strong democratic institutions across the hemisphere,” Glick said. “They give civil society a chance to present serious issues to world leaders in a forum designed to maximize input from groups with expertise on a variety of subjects.”
The B’nai B’rith representatives discussed the growing arms race in Latin America; the attacks against freedom of expression in some countries in the region; the need to protect minorities against discrimination; the status of the Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; the need not to import non-regional conflicts to the continent; and the importance of inter-religious dialogue. They also asked the secretary general about his recent participation in the U.N.-sponsored Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, which took place in Brazil in May.
Glick and Kohn, along with B’nai B’rith Lima President Benami Grobman, also attended the opening of the General Assembly, hosted by Peruvian President Alan García. After the ceremony, the B’nai B’rith delegates met with Panamanian Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Juan Carlos Varela; Panamanian Ambassador to the OAS Guillermo Cochéz; Costa Rican Foreign Minister René Castro; and Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs José García Belaunde, among others.
Prior to the OAS meetings, Glick, Kohn, and Grobman were received by President of the Peruvian Congress Luis Alva Castro and Congressman David Waisman. Among other issues, they discussed the increasing relations between Venezuela and Iran and the situation in Honduras.
Glick, Kohn, and Grobman also visited the prestigious Jewish College Leon Pinelo, spoke at the B’nai B’rith Lima Lodge, and met with other leaders of local Jewish communities. They also shared a Shabbat dinner with Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Director Dorit Shavit; Counselor for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C. Oren Anolik; and Israeli Ambassador in Peru Yoav Bar On.