By Marcelle Mansour
The Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney and Sydney University Staff for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) held a National Conference titled “Driving Global Justice for Palestine”) on Friday and Saturday 28-29 July 2017 at the University of Sydney Australia. The conference was supported by a number of associations: The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network; the Palestine Support Network Australia; Friends of Palestine WA; Justice for Palestine Brisbane; the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (SA), Australian Palestinian Professionals Association; The General Union of Palestinian Workers, the Australian Palestinian Club; the Coalition against Israel Apartheid Melbourne; the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine; the Palestine Action Group Sydney;
A large number of active academics and researchers participated in the two-day conference, in which 32 research papers were presented, along with discussions and follow-up, all aimed at urging driving international attention towards achieving a just peace in Palestine.
Some of local Australian academic speakers were Emirates Professor Stuart Rees AM, Dr Ahmad Shboul Am, Professor Bassam Dally, Dr Peter Slezak, Dr Nick Riemer, Dr Marcello Svirsky, Dr Jake Lynch, Dr Nigel Parsons, Jessica Morrison, Cathy Peters, Vivienne Prozsolt.
The Australian keynote speakers were Dr Yousef Munayyer- Executive Director US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Samah Sabawi – author, playwright and political commentator and Professor Ghassan Hage -Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne. Various Sessions covered important topics such as freedom of speech. Zionism, Anti-Semitism, Justice, Palestine, Unions and Politics and others
According to the Gaurdian newspaper: “On the following day Sunday the 30th of July, former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr delivered a speech to the NSW state Labor conference, calling on the party to recognise Palestine. The motion carried by delegates in Sydney on Sunday night affirmed the two-state solution, and it recognised Israel and Palestine’s right to exist “within secure and recognised borders” before urging the next Labor government to recognise Palestine. The references to the two-state solution and the right to exist secure state borders were added during backroom negotiations in the lead-up to the vote.”