JERUSALEM, Sept. 24 (JTA) – Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres has announced the creation of an institute aimed at advancing regional peace efforts. The Peres Peace Center, which will be inaugurated next month, plans to initiate regional projects focusing on economic, technological and educational cooperation. The center will work to identify strategies for regional agricultural development, and it plans to host dialogues between Israelis and Arabs. Officials who have been associated with the peace process over the years, including former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, will serve on the institute’s leadership. Peres said this week at a news conference that the creation of such an institute is relevant especially now that peace-making efforts are facing difficulties. “We should not let the peace fall down, neither should we let our hearts fall down,” said Peres. “There have been groups of terrorists trying to bring down [peace efforts] throughout history. I would never give a hand to let the Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Hezbollah decide the future.” The center is privately funded.