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1. In paragraph 84 of Part VII of its resolution 63/100 B, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to the Committee on Information at its thirty-first session and to the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session on the activities of the Department of Public Information and on the implementation of all recommendations and requests contained in that resolution. Accordingly, the Department of Public Information introduced three reports for consideration by the Committee on Information at its thirty-first session, held from 4-15 May 2009 (A/AC.198/2009/2, 3 and 4). The deliberations of the Committee with regard to those reports are reflected in its report to the General Assembly. 1
2. The present report, prepared in response to the above-mentioned resolution, updates the information provided to the Committee on Information and describes activities undertaken by the Department of Public Information in the first half of 2009 — from January to July — through its three subprogrammes; namely, the strategic communications services, the news services, and the outreach and knowledge-sharing services.
II. Strategic communications services
A. Thematic issues
6. Question of Palestine
14. The Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Government of Brazil, organized the annual International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, in Rio de Janeiro on 27 and 28 July 2009. Entitled “Promoting Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue — A View from South America”, this was the seventeenth in a series and the first to be held in the region. Over 150 participants from Brazil and other countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and other parts of the world attended, including current and former policymakers, government officials, mayors, representatives of civil society and academia, and journalists. The seminar was extensively covered by major Brazilian media outlets, including Agencia Brasil, O Globo, Folha de São Paulo, O Estado de São Paulo, O Dia, Jornal do Brasil , as well as by media in other parts of world, such as Agence France-Presse , France 24, Emirates Tribune, Yedioth Aheronot, Maariv, Haaretz The Jerusalem Report, Al-Ayyam, Al-Quds , WAFA and Maan News Agencies, Vrema Novesti, Milliyet, Die Press, The Media News Line Agency, Addoustour and Petra.
15. In collaboration with the Institute for Global Leadership, a United States-based non-governmental organization, the Department of Public Information arranged a press conference at United Nations Headquarters in March 2009, featuring a former Palestinian fighter and a former Israeli soldier, members of the Jerusalem-based Combatants for Peace, as part of a speaking tour throughout the United States. The two men, who lost close relatives during the conflict, are part of a movement of more than 600 former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian fighters who opted for non-violent means to end violence in the area.
16. Preparations are ongoing for the 2009 training programme for young Palestinian journalists, which will take place in New York, Washington, D.C., and Geneva, from 9 November to 11 December. Nine candidates (five women and four men) have been selected to participate in this year’s programme, the objective of which is to strengthen the skills and capacity of young Palestinian journalists. It will focus on broadcast journalism, including training with Internet-based media.