Fares: 'The key to a just peace is to recognize the basic resolutions of the United Nations' For the sixth consecutive year, the annual Issam M. Fares Lecture Series was inaugurated at Boston’s Tufts University. On this occasion, the conference was honored with the presence of General Colin Powell and the title theme was “A Permanent Peace in the Middle East”. The conference was preceded by a ceremony honoring the Deputy Premier Fares. As a mark of the university’s appreciation for his qualities and relentless efforts, the Deputy Premier was decorated by the head of the board of trustees with an honorary doctorate in international affairs. The Deputy Premier was distinguished for his efforts and contribution to cultural institutions, humanitarian causes and student issues in Lebanon, abroad, and above all in the United States, as well as for his endeavors in international relations as a person, a politician, an economy specialist and family man.Speech by Issam Fares at this occasionOf all the honors and awards that a person might receive in his public life, there is always one that stands out. For me, this doctorate from Tufts University is the one. I shall cherish this honor throughout my life. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Board of Trustees of Tufts University for granting me this great honor. Also I would like to thank President John DiBiaggio and the Faculty and Administration of this great university for the privilege of working with you in the interest of Tufts.From the early decades of its birth, America was challenged to explore New Frontiers.In only the last few decades, man set foot on the moon. Space ships traveled beyond it into the planets and the far reaches of outer space.Exploring new frontiers was the defining challenge of the Twentieth Century. What shall be the defining challenge of the Twenty-First Century?Certainly, progress will continue in science, in space, in communication, and in the world of computer technology. But the new challenges that will face us in the future are outside the physical realm. They are mostly in the realms of human relations, and the art of living together.The new challenges are: How to tear down the walls that separate race from race, religion from religion, nation from nation, and civilization from civilization; how to build bridges, not from one river bank to the other, but from nation to nation.We are here governed by fear, by suspicion, by pride, and by the will to exploit and dominate.The world is still a plurality of families, tribes, nations, and civilizations. It will always be. The challenge in the 21st Century is how to achieve community while maintaining this diversity; how to create a harmonious world while preserving the values of the existing civilizations.The challenge indeed is how to acquire the gift of tolerance, the wisdom of humility, and the intelligence to see our higher interests in the context of conflicting immediate interests.Tufts University is ideally placed to blaze a new trail in this important domain. It has already taken the lead in programs on international relations and in providing a forum for the promotion of peace and justice.I am sure Tufts, together with other universities, will continue to broaden their contribution to pushing this frontier forward. Indeed, there are obstacles to remove, and peaks to climb. We have done it before for science; we can do it again for mankind.In closing, I express, again my gratitude to Tufts University for bestowing upon me this honor, and I wish for Tufts to retain the honor and distinction that it now holds as a leader in higher education and research in the United States and around the world.
LECTUREADDRESS BY ISSAM M. FARES It is an honor and a privilege to welcome General Colin Powell to the Issam M. Fares Lecture Series at Tufts University.Your participation, General Powell, as a man who rose in the ranks of the US Army, held its top military posts, and dealt directly with the question of war and peace in the Middle East acquires special importance, at this time.The objective of the Issam M. Fares series is to further the cause of peace on the foundations of justice. Peace that does not take into account the principles of justice or the larger issues of human rights will not last.Without justice, one can impose peace but cannot maintain it. We should all keep this in mind as we search for a lasting peace in the Middle East.As a Lebanese, I have a special interest in the Middle East, and in the role of the US in helping us attain peace in our region.The destiny of Lebanon is part of the destiny of its region. If there is no peace in the region, there will be no real peace in Lebanon, and vice versa.We suffered war in Lebanon for some two decades, and we experienced the dislocation, the destruction, and the misery that come with it. Only those who experience war fully appreciate the blessings of peace.We have learned in Lebanon that peace cannot be achieved without taking the interests of all parties into account. We have learned that there are parties, small and large, but that they all have a role to play in building peace.Of course, of all the capitals engaged in the Middle East Peace Process, Washington exercises the greatest influence. Washington however cannot go it alone.It can orchestrate and encourage; it can point out other courses of action. But the objective must always be to realize a comprehensive and durable peace in which the rights of all parties are recognized.Peace “by pieces” does not work. Despite agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and in part with the Palestinian Authority, we still do not have peace. Indeed, peace may be slipping into a state of violence and war.Peace will be effective only when the fundamental issues inherent in the Palestine question are adequately addressed, and when the interests of Syria and Lebanon are addressed as well.When one thinks of purely short-term gains, one is likely to shoot from the hip, to act in anger, and to react in anger. In such an atmosphere, the strong is tempted to dictate, and the weak is tempted to react violently. Either course is a sure way to failure. The October events in Jerusalem and the West Bank are a vivid example of that.In addition, in the Middle East, it is impossible to separate between religion and politics. With us, the religious symbol is a fact – a hard, concrete, stubborn fact. It tends to mobilize masses, generate violence, and overturn regimes.In the peace process there are Jewish symbols, Christian symbols, and Islamic symbols, and they all converge in Jerusalem. Given the religious complexity of Jerusalem, the strategic importance of the region, and its economic place in world trade, the peace effort must engage not only the US, but also the UN, Russia, Europe, and the Arab-Islamic World.The key to a just peace is to recognize the basic resolutions of the United Nations and to proceed from them. Agreements on land, on water, and on trade are important and perhaps, necessary steps to an enduring peace. But what we need ultimately is the readiness of the parties to recognize each other, to learn to accept the plurality that exists, and to have the wisdom and the will to live together.We have a long way to go before we reach this goal. Peace in our region is a long process. It faces major dangers and challenges, but we should persist. Again, I welcome General Powell to our Forum, and I thank him for his readiness to take time off from his busy schedule to share his thoughts with us.In his life the General has overcome many hurdles; hence, he can appreciate the hurdles that stand in the way of peace in our region, and he might be able to help us in overcoming them.
ADDRESS BY GENERAL COLIN POWELLFollowing the Deputy Premier’s speech, General Colin Powell delivered a speech highlighting the common values he shares with the Deputy Premier. This included their profound attachment to principles, moral and national values, their efforts to serve the society and their commitment to help the new generation. Powel congratulated Fares on his new position as the Deputy Premier and wished him all the best in his new duties. He hoped that Lebanon would in the near future enjoy permanent peace, prosperity and development and would recover all of its legitimate rights.Powell: 'I am deeply interested in the Middle East current situation, mainly the peace process'Powel added that he was deeply interested in the current situation in the Middle East and especially the peace process in that region. He stated that there is no better alternative to peace and negotiations and that violence does not solve problems but rather complicates the situation. Through negotiations only, the different parties could reach a common understanding.Powel also pointed that the international environment had changed after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and that nowadays the world adheres to the liberal system, democracy and human rights. In this new era, the United States considers itself responsible, along the free world, for peace and security in the world, especially in the Middle East and that is why it has called upon the parties to negotiate for peace following the Madrid initiative.Powel stated that he agreed totally with the Deputy Premier on the positions he so eloquently conveyed with regard to finding adequate solutions leading to a just and lasting peace. He added that the American administration is committed to the peace process in the Middle East and will not change its position towards that regardless of the election results between the democrat candidate, Vice-President Al Gore, or the Republican George Bush. Powel had previously held a press conference in the Tufts University where he conveyed his deepest and heartfelt congratulations to the Deputy Premier Issam Fares for his new position and responsibilities. He also wished the Lebanese government and officials all the best, especially during this difficult period that the region is going through.When asked why he viewed the coming period as difficult, Powel responded: “After the recent escalation of violence in the region, I think it is about time that all the parties sat down and discussed the way out of this cycle of violence. Any military action, whether in Lebanon or in the neighboring countries will only complicate the peace process further. The time has come for the concerned leaders to engage in dialogue, hold discussions and take the necessary steps to halt the violence”.