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Women’s Seminar in Israel

A group of 20 prominent American and Canadian women leaders are visiting Israel this week, it was announced by Elaine Dubnow and Phyllis Kaminsky, founders and coordinators of the Jerusalem Women’s Seminar in which the group will be the first participants. The contingent of women was scheduled to arrive in Israel today and leave July 20.

The objective of the Seminar is to encourage dialogue among women who represent the three major religious denominations which have historic ties to the city of Jerusalem. Dubnow, of Johnstown, Po., and Kaminsky, of Montreal, who will head the contingent, have been involved in various philanthropic and public affairs projects in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Both women visited Egypt in June 1979 to familiarize themselves with the role of women in Moslem society. They were invited to Egypt by President Anwar Sodat’s son.

Among the women in the contingent are: Angela Cabrera, president, National Council of Puerto Rican Women in New York City; Lana Campagnolo of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and former Member of Parliament from British Columbia; Shirley Carr, executive vice president, Canadian Labor Congress; Elizabeth Janeway, author, of New York City; Pia Lindstrom, NBC-TV News anchorwoman; Judge Constance Baker Motley, U.S. District Judge in New York City; and Jane Wales, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs at the State Department in Washington.

In addition to the twin goals of interreligious dialogue and cultural exchange, the Seminar will provide the opportunity for the participants to spend time with leading Israeli women of matched professional backgrounds, with whom they can shore work experiences, exchange personal ideas and discuss common goals, Kaminsky and Dubnow said.

Janeway said she is “deeply interested in the opportunity to meet Israeli women and to become acquainted with this fascinating country and culture.” Also participating, Frances Hesselbein, executive director of the Girl Scouts, who will be part of the contingent, said she felt that “the intercultural dialogue between the North American women and our Israeli counterparts is more essential in this decade than ever before.”

Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D.NY) said that “This conference is an excellent opportunity to move beyond the political realities of turmoil and conflict which plague many countries in the Middle East, and toward a genuine sharing of experiences and common efforts.”

Ella Grasso, Governor of Connecticut and a member of the Seminar’s Sponsors Committee, expressed the hope “that the Jerusalem Women’s Seminar will succeed in furthering the efforts of all who seek a peaceful world in which human rights and opportunities are assured for every person.”

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