Peres' speech part of a greater initiative for the Middle East

We were disappointed to find a major omission in the Crimson’s account of the Honorable Shimon Peres’s speech at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (News, “Peres Expresses Hope for Mideast Peace,” Oct. 21): The article failed to mention the crucial point that this event launched Caravan for Democracy’s third year of generating constructive dialogue about the Middle East on college campuses throughout the United States. Mr. Peres’s appearance at the Forum was just one example of what is in fact a nationwide initiative called Caravan for Democracy, a program which brings high level Israeli speakers representing a wide spectrum of political and philosophical thought to American universities for meetings with student leaders, student press, faculty and then a lecture and Q&A; in a large hall open to as many students as possible in order to combat an anti-Israeli trend found on many campuses today.  

It is a shame that Mr. Peres’s prestige as well as that of the venue have overshadowed the reason behind the event. However, perhaps this speaks more to the initiative’s success: fostering true dialogue across the academic and Boston community about the Middle East conflict and the challenges facing democracies in the 21st century.  Additional universities currently scheduled for Caravan for Democracy (a joint initiative of Jewish National Fund, Media Watch International and Hamagshimim) this year include the American University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin, UCLA and Ohio State with speakers such as former Soviet dissident and human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Member of Knesset Ephraim Sneh and media consultant Arnon Perlman among others.


New York, N.Y.

October 26

The writer is the Director of College Activists for the Jewish National Fund.