Students at Coventry University received a unique insight into the ongoing peace process in the Middle East on Tuesday evening when the Palestinian ambassador to the UK spoke to them in the city centre.
Professor Manuel Hassassian – a former vice president of Bethlehem University – visited the Hub to talk to students about the challenges facing Palestine as it seeks to establish itself as an independent sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The talk, which was organised by the University’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies (CPRS) in conjunction with ‘Friends of Palestine’ and ‘Justice for the Palestinians’, follows a United Nations General Assembly vote in November last year which saw Palestine’s status upgraded to that of a ‘non-member observer state’ – a significant milestone which allows it to participate in UN debates and to join treaties and special UN agencies.
Dr Marwan Darweish is principal lecturer in peace studies at Coventry University, and spoke alongside Professor Hassassian at the event. He said:
“This was a wonderful opportunity for our students and the people of Coventry, particularly those with an interest in the development of global peace and conflict resolution. We hear very little in the UK media of the Palestinian viewpoint of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, so this was a unique chance to learn how representatives of the Palestinian people see the situation unfolding and what they think of their prospects for full statehood.”
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tim Sawdon, was also in attendance at the talk.