|FIRST ISRAELI ARAB FOREIGN DIPLOMAT TO SPEAK AT MARYMOUNT ACADEMY|
MONTREAL, MARCH 8, 2004– Ali Yahya, the first Arab to ever serve as an Israeli ambassador, will speak to students at the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) Marymount Academy (5100 Côte St. Luc Road) on Wed. March 10 at 9:30 a.m.
Mr. Yahya has a Bachelor of History and Arabic Literature from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. For the past five years he has served as an advisor and coordinator for the Special Projects Department for the Mideast and the peace process in Israel’s Foreign Ministry. In 1995 he became the country’s first Israeli Arab ambassador when he was assigned to Helsinki, Finland, a post he held for four years.
Mr. Yahya has also served as a lecturer in the Education Department of Tel Aviv University and at the Senior Police Officer’s College (lecturing in Arab language and Arabism). From 1972 to 1995 he was the deputy director general, of Ulpan Akiva in Netanya where he taught female soldiers to be teachers of Arabic language in the Israeli educational system.
Mr. Yahya has won the U.S. Congress award for promoting peace through culture and language; the Histradut (Israel’s labour union) prize for co-existence; the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) Speaker’s Prize for Environment and he became the First Israeli Arab to win the Israel prize, as representative of Ulpan Akiva.
As chairman of the Board of the Abraham Fund, he helps promotes coexistence between Arab and Jewish Israelis. He has also been representative of the Israeli Arab community at the Nobel Prize Ceremony and was the first Arab citizen to light a festive torch during official Israel Independence Day celebrations.
Michael J. Cohen