One of the featured speakers at the annual WUJS Congress taking place this week will be chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Erekat, along with opposition head Tzipi Livni and Jewish Agency chairman Nathan Sharansky, will address the more than 200 elected Jewish student leaders from 52 countries who have come to participate in the congress taking place through Thursday at the Jerusalem Gate Hotel.

Chaya Singer, outgoing chairwoman of the World Union of Jewish Students, told the Post on Monday, “There is no doubting the Zionist content of the conference. Bringing voices such as Erekat’s opens the debate in an educational forum and this kind of diversity is the strength of Jewish students world over. It is an answer to the boycott and an opportunity to show our openness to dialogue in the face of extremism.”

Jono Lazarus, chairman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), said, “I think it is important that WUJS hosts Dr. Erekat as well as a host of Israeli representatives from the government and opposition, in our attempt to stand up for and with the State of Israel for now, as well as securing its future as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Mike Immerman, one of the delegates, said, “It is of paramount importance that we engage with alternative or even conflicting points of view. Listening to just one narrative may be comfortable to the ears, but it should be stressed that comfort isn’t what were after.”

Other speakers at the conference being hosted by the Foreign Ministry and the Knesset will include Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, Fiamma Nirenstein, vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and former Government Press Office head Danny Seaman.

“In a tradition dating back to 1924, under the chairmanship of Albert Einstein, the WUJS Congress once again brings together representative student leaders from around the world to assess and confront the contemporary face of the age old challenges facing Jewish students,” chairman Singer, from South Africa, said.

This year, at the General Assembly that will take place on the third day of the Congress, a new chairman will be elected to a two-year term.

There are five candidates contesting for this position, three student representatives from Israel and one each from the United Kingdom and France.

“Jewish students are at the forefront of the battle against assimilation, anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel on campuses around the world,” Singer said.

Topics for the 2010 Congress include the battle against anti- Semitism, assimilation and anti-Israelism worldwide.

Advocacy professionals, academics and community leaders alike recognize the growing need for student-to-student peer led advocacy and programming.

Through its programming and the annual congress, WUJS aims to sustain a worldwide network through which a global advocacy agenda can be advanced. At congress, student leadership from around the world will pool their resources to build effective campaigns.

“WUJS provides a crucial platform and network through which global advocacy ideas and campaigns can be developed and shared,” Aaron Vomberg, president of the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students, told the Post on Monday.

“The Canadian delegation comprising six students from six campuses across Canada looks forward to participating in this important dialogue, helping craft the vision for WUJS over the next year, and sharing our campaigns. One of our recent campaigns, one that we are very proud of, is Size Doesn’t Matter, a viral campaign that highlights the multitude of Israel’s accomplishments and contributions in a new, edgy and attractive way. WUJS provides a platform through which we are sharing SDM globally.”

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