International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Wisma Putra, in collaboration with IDFR, organised the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 8 December 2015 at the Treaty Room, IDFR. The event was held in line with the United Nations call for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and demonstrated Malaysia’s continued support and solidarity on the Palestinian cause.
The programme commenced with the Welcoming Remarks by YBhg. Datuk Salman Ahmad, the Director General of IDFR, who expressed that IDFR is honored to be the host of the important event. Datuk Salman then emphasised on the need for the younger generation in Malaysia to be aware of the Palestinians’ plight and to provide meaningful support and aid to the people.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, YB Dato’ Sri Reezal Merican Naina Merican congratulated the State of Palestine on the historic adoption of Resolution 69/320, which saw the flag of the State of Palestine being raised at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2015. Further, Dato’ Sri Reezal spoke of education as the foundation of society, and stated that “to invest in education is to invest in peace and stability”. In support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which is working on improving the education environment in Gaza, Malaysia contributed an additional USD100, 000 financial support on top of its annual commitment of USD25, 000. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provides assistance to Palestinians through NGOs such as CAKNA Palestine as part of its efforts in capacity building through training and education.
The keynote address was followed by a short video presentation on Palestine and an experience sharing session with Palestinian students currently pursuing their education in Malaysia. Mr. Zamshari Shaharan of Wisma Putra moderated the session which comprised of three Palestinian students – Mr. Mahmoud F.R. Abumarzouq, pursuing a Masters in Orthopedic Surgery at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM); Mr. Ali Hisyam Abu Safia, pursuing a Masters in Science (Medical Education) in USM; and Mr. Hussein S.A. Abu Marzouq, pursuing a Diploma in Business Studies from Darulnaim College of Technology – and a representative from the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Ahmed Metani.
Dr. Ahmed Metani thanked the Malaysians for their continuous support of the Palestine’s cause, and stated that Palestinians do view education as very valuable and important. He hoped that with the government’s support it can facilitate the student visa process for Palestinians so they could obtain the education they need in Malaysia. Mr. Mahmoud praised Malaysia’s excellent education system and infrastructure, and hoped that outreach programmes can be made to the various universities in Palestine that have little resources to advance their research. Mr. Ali Hisham spoke of the vital role that youths can play through volunteering in their community, and implored youths in the audience to constantly look for self improvement for the benefit of the community.
The event was well attended by members of the diplomatic corps, senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NGOs, and students from the International Islamic University, Malaysia (IIUM).
Sarah Zahirah Ruhama
Centre for Political Studies and Economic Diplomacy